AT&T to offer home automation services in U.S. via 'Digital Life' launch

AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) launched a new home automation and security service under its "Digital Life" unit, branching out further into the machine-to-machine market in a bid to stay neck and neck with Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) as the two seek to grow beyond traditional cellular connections.

AT&T Digital Life video

Click here for a video from AT&T on its new Digital Life offering.

The carrier's new Digital Life services will include home remote monitoring and automation services featuring Web-based access to automation, energy and water controls, as well as professionally monitored security services. AT&T said that customers will be able to use any Web-enabled device including PCs, tablets and smartphones--regardless of wireless carrier--to access the services. AT&T said it will handle all of the setup for the services. The company said it will begin trials of the new service in Atlanta and Dallas, where its wireless and corporate headquarters are located, later this summer.

AT&T hinted at such services via its Digital Life platform demonstration in the GSMA's Connected House at Mobile World Congress in February, which featured a bevy of M2M solutions. At the time, the company did not say how it would bring Digital Life services to the U.S. market. AT&T initially launched its Digital Life play in February as a software developer kit for sale to international carriers.

While Digital life is its own separate unit, and will be led by senior vice president Kevin Petersen, the unit actually falls under the heading of the carrier's Emerging Devices division. Glenn Lurie, president of AT&T's Emerging Devices unit, is spearheading the initiative and said he sees the new unit as one of AT&T's biggest revenue growth opportunities, "if not the largest," with "very significant" incremental growth in 2013.

"When you're a company like AT&T ... you look at opportunities that are billion-dollar opportunities," Lurie told Reuters. "Obviously to grow our business at any level, when you're a $130 billion plus company, you have to look for significant opportunities. We view this as a significant opportunity."

According to Analysys Mason's forecasts, security and surveillance solutions in North America will generate $1.2 billion in connectivity-related wholesale revenue for carriers by 2021. The research firm believes that 84 percent of security and surveillance solutions will be over mobile networks connections by 2021.

AT&T isn't the only carrier interested in home security and energy. Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) launched a home security and energy management service last fall. Comcast too offers similar services through its Xfinity Home play. Lurie will likely be talking about the new Digital Life services at FierceWireles' executive breakfast panel, called "Building a Global M2M and Embedded Devices Ecosystem," at the CTIA Wireless 2012 conference in New Orleans on Wednesday, May 9.

For more:
- see this release
- see this Bloomberg article
- see this Reuters article
- see this The Verge article

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