Broadband sees key to home security – News

Shirley Brady

There’s more than just entertainment coming down the broadband highway into consumers’ homes. Broadband-linked homes could also be a lot safer in the not-too-distant future.

“Traditional home security systems are connected from the home to the security company or a police station via an RF connection over a phone or power line, but a broadband link versus a dial-up connection definitely provides value to consumers for home security,” says Navin Sabharwal, director-residential and networking technologies at Allied Business Intelligence.

“Using the Internet as a gateway to the home security system is nothing new — ADT’s been doing it for some time now,” Sabharwal adds. “What is new is what broadband brings to the table. While security data packets only require low bandwidth to be transmitted, the advantage to broadband is it’s always on — other connections are more vulnerable. Broadband also easily facilitates access to closed circuit televisions or streaming video. This offers more convenience to consumers, as they want the flexibility to control their home networks remotely.”

That’s what attracted Jerry Lindauer and William Glasgow, two former Prime Cable executives, to launch @Security Broadband in June 1999. Cox Communications recently began testing their broadband-based security technology in Las Vegas with the goal of introducing the @Security service later this year.

“Our system doesn’t tie up the phone line,” says @Security CEO Glasgow. “We will provide a new, non-competing revenue stream while enabling [cable operators] to provide a service that will enhance their value proposition to their customers.”

“Cox believes the cable market is ready for this technology,” says Jeff Brown, Cox director-business development. “Leveraging off our broadband investment, we hope to deliver a new, state-of-the-art product.”

The Austin, Texas-based startup aims to create the next generation of home security products by tapping into high-speed broadband Internet’s audio and video capabilities. Besides offering audio and video alarm verification, @Security provides Web-ready in-home cameras and two-way microphones along with 24-hour monitoring and a secure password-protected Web site with a remote system.

The service allows cable broadband subscribers to arm or disarm their systems by accessing up to four cameras to monitor their homes via an Internet connection. The system could also be used to monitor caregivers or elderly family members at home.

Glasgow and Lindauer estimate their add-on security feature could provide as much as $100 incremental cash flow per cable customer.

@Security’s founders have raised more than $14 million from venture capitalists and cable operators to fund technology research and integration, conduct consumer research and explore security and safety content opportunities.

Cable investors include Cox Communications, Comcast, Adelphia Communications, Cablevision Systems and Charter Communications.

Lindauer and Glasgow aren’t the only ones plying the broadband home security market. At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, Home Director unveiled the software applications it is developing for security and other networking features via gateway and set-top boxes.

The Morrisville, N.C.-based company is creating home networking integration products — software and hardware — for cable modem systems and advanced digital set-top boxes. The company is working with Motorola to integrate its software applications in DCT-5000+set-top boxes.

Home Director’s software allows users to connect to and control a home’s networked systems via the Internet. Users have live access to their at-home security devices along with entertainment and communications features.

“Packaged solutions make home networking easy,” says Mary Walker, Home Director’s president/CEO. “By developing product bundles that build off a home networking foundation, we are able to offer solutions that give homeowners the useful applications they want at the prices they can afford.”

The company’s communication networking hardware and software package is available now, while its home security and entertainment packages are slated for release by the end of the first quarter of 2001, according to Home Director public relations manager Scott Yates.

COPYRIGHT 2001 Copyright by Media Central Inc., A PRIMEDIA Company. All rights reserved.

COPYRIGHT 2003 Gale Group

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