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Thursday, April 25, 2013

AT&T Releases Connected Home Security System

AT&T, the wireless carrier, is looking beyond phones and tablets to make more money. The company introduced on Friday its connected home security system in 15 cities.

The security system, called AT&T Digital Life, will allow homeowners to connect appliances like light bulbs, video surveillance cameras and door locks to the Internet and control them remotely with a smartphone app. For the security aspect, the service hooks up to AT&T’s monitoring center, where employees will respond to emergencies and alert the police or the fire department.

Customers can choose between a basic and a more advanced package. The basic package includes the home monitoring service, a 24-hour backup battery and an indoor siren, among other features, for $30 a month and $150 for equipment and installation. The advanced package also includes a glass break sensor, a smoke sensor and a motion sensor for $40 a month and $250 for equipment and installation.

Customers can also pay extra to add things like video surveillance cameras for $10 a month, or connected door locks for $5 month. Equipment and installation cost extra.

AT&T announced plans for Digital Life in January. In an earlier interview, Ralph de la Vega, chief executive of AT&T Wireless, said he thought home security would be a major opportunity to increase revenue, because only 20 percent of homes have security systems, leaving millions of homeowners as potential buyers.

Finding new revenue streams is important for AT&T and the wireless industry in general. Most people who want a cellphone already own one, so all the phone carriers, with the exception of Verizon Wireless, are seeing a sharp slowdown in the number of subscribers added each quarter; at some point, the revenue from phone bills will stagnate.

Digital Life is initially available in 15 cities, including New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, Dallas and Philadelphia.