AT&T Enters Home Security Market With IP-Based Digital Life

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AT&T Enters Home Security Market With IP-Based Digital Life

by Michelle Maisto

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AT&T Digital Life Now in 15 Markets

AT&T has launched Digital Life in 15 markets—Atlanta; Austin, Texas; Boulder, Colo.; Chicago; Dallas; Denver; Houston; Los Angeles; Miami; Philadelphia; Riverside, Calif.; San Francisco; Seattle; St. Louis and the New York-New Jersey area—with plans to expand to 50 markets by the end of the year.

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Clear Message of Convenience, Connectivity

Among Digital Life's key differentiators is that a consultant doesn't need to visit a home to provide a quote. AT&T offers two packages, Simple Security for $29.99 a month or Smart Security for $39.99 a month. With both, there's a one-time, up-front fee that varies based on what a customer chooses—how many cameras or sensors, for example—but there are no surprises. The complete quote can be created online and adjusted any time.

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Five "Automation Packages" Can Be Added

To the Smart Security option, customers can add any of five automation packages that include cameras inside or outside a home; the ability to control thermostats and appliances and automated locks; water detection and the ability to turn off a water source. These range from an additional $4.99 a month to $9.99 a month. The entire solution is IP-based, runs on AT&T's 3G network and defaults to a broadband connection.

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From Door Locks to Thermostats

AT&T, at an April 24 press event, showed off some of the equipment it's using for Digital Life. AT&T has partnered with Sears and will leverage its field service workers, who will perform installations alongside a Digital Life specialist.

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The Digital Life Door Package

The Door Package enables a subscriber to check on the doors in her home, remotely lock or unlock them, and assign something in the neighborhood of 200 passcodes so houseguests or a nanny can let themselves in without a key and it's always clear to the homeowner who exactly has entered the house.

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Not Fear, Convenience

Kevin Petersen, senior vice president of AT&T Digital Life, said that AT&T's message is that Digital Life "is connecting you to what means most to you on your terms. We're not leading with fear, with what you see in [security ads], with people in ski masks. We're addressing the problem of giving you something you don't have today ... in a simple, intuitive and meaningful way."

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Mobile Apps

Digital Life can be accessed via any Web browser or through iOS, Android and Windows Phone apps. A BlackBerry OS app "is coming," said Peterson.

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Customization, Personalization Are Keys

Users can customize Digital Life endlessly, including deciding what they'd like their home page or the home image of their app to be. It might be a list of all recent activity, an updating image of their driveway or front porch, or a gallery of all the cameras in the house.

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As Much a Life Complement as a Security System

Digital Life can also be customized around three types of programs: notifications (you decide what to be alerted to, and how), scheduled tasks (such as telling the thermostat to adjust in the evening) and connected activities. The latter brings together certain devices. For example, if a sensor picks up on movement, a light can be told to turn on and a camera to begin filming.

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Custom Views

Various scheduled tasks, as in the other areas, can be further customized into things like Vacation Mode, Morning Routine or Coming Home. The latter might include things like readying the home for the family's return by turning on lights, adjusting the temperature and maybe turning on an appliance, like a rice cooker.

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