AT&T Launches Digital Life Home Security in 15 Markets

AT&T saw a niche for a wireless, personalized, app-based home security solution. Its Digital Life will be in 50 U.S. markets by year's end.

AT&T entered the home security market April 26, announcing the availability of AT&T Digital Life in 15 cities.

The all-IP solution, which runs over AT&T's 3G network and uses broadband as a backup, enables customers to do things like remotely check in on their homes in real time, receive emails or texts alerting them to an issue, remotely unlock or lock doors and windows, and instruct devices to work together. For example, if a sensor detects motion during specified hours, a light can turn on and a camera can begin filming.

AT&T has built a platform with Cisco, a Website and mobile apps for iOS, Android and Windows Phone, and a business plan that eliminates both the guesswork of pricing and the need for a salesperson to visit a home to put together an estimate. Digital Life plans can be assembled, customized and purchased entirely online, though a person with questions can also visit an AT&T store to receive help or answers.

(A user profile can be created online and saved, so an incomplete order can be saved and also pulled up in the store and returned to.)

"We're connecting you to what means most to you, on your terms," Kevin Petersen, senior vice president of Digital Life, said at a press event April 24. "We're not leading with fear—with what you usually see, with ads with people with ski masks. We're addressing the problem of giving something you don't have today ... in a simple, intuitive, meaningful way."

A Simple Security package is priced at $29.99 a month plus a one-time fee of $149.99 for equipment and installation. It includes 24/7 home monitoring, 24-hour battery backup (so the solution doesn't go out in the event of a power-outage), a wireless keypad, a keychain remote, recessed sensors and an indoor siren.

A Smart Security package is priced at $39.99 per month plus a one-time fee of $249.99. It includes everything in the Simple package plus a choice of three of the following: a motion sensor, a carbon monoxide sensor, a glass-break sensor, a smoke sensor or a takeover kit that enables the AT&T solution to work over any solutions already in place.

Customers who choose the Smart Security package can also add on any or all of five automation packages.

A Camera Package offers live video from inside or outside of the home for an additional $9.99 a month plus equipment and installation. (Petersen said that a flat fee of $9.99 includes up to eight cameras; customers don't need to pay for each one individually.)

An Energy Package controls appliances, lighting and thermostats, for cost savings, convenience and efficiency, for an added $4.99 a month plus equipment and installation.

A Door Package includes automated door lock, is priced at $4.99 a month plus equipment and installation, enables users to remotely lock or unlock doors and offers unique combinations to individuals (such as a nanny, a house sitter or a guest) so that it's clear who's entered and when.

A Water Detection Package, for the same price, can detect a leak before major damage occurs. And a Water Control package, for an added $9.99 a month plus equipment and installation, can detect leaks and turn off water at the source.

"We've gone to great lengths to make sure this is a secure process," Petersen said. "I'd call it kind of bulletproof. It's as secure a system like this as you can get."

When someone places an order, AT&T sends someone out to the area to look at the general network performance and make sure AT&T's 3G signal is strong enough. If it's not, it can address the situation in various ways, including putting a signal booster in the home.

When it's time to install, AT&T will send a "Digital Life specialist," as well as the electrician or plumber, as appropriate to what's been ordered. To address the logistics of having so many folks in the field, AT&T has partnered with four companies nationwide.

Peterson added that AT&T is leveraging Sears' field service network and that, if a customer decides to add something, technicians will be equipped to make the addition on the spot.

Digital Life is available to everyone, not just AT&T subscribers—though eventually, Petersen expects perks will be offered to AT&T subscribers.