[LINK] Telstra wants to monitor your home

Stephen Loosley stephenloosley at outlook.com
Wed Jun 22 22:39:31 AEST 2016

By Chris Griffith  The Australian

Telstra launches its connected home network.

Telstra wants you to install its internet connected sensors, cameras, power plugs and door locks in your home.

It is wanting to become Australia’s leading provider of smart home solutions in a market push that thrusts it into competition with Apple, Google and other technology firms.

Telstra is teaming up with US company iControl Networks to roll out internet connected hubs, door sensors, smart door locks and cameras which Australians can buy on 24-month plans.

Executive director home and premium services, John Chambers said company research had found that Australians were now ready to invest in internet connected home security systems.

“Our research suggests that customers want a trusted brand that will support their service and they want to spread the payments over time,” he told The Australian.

“Over 30 per cent of customers said they are ready to purchase smart home solutions from Telstra.”

He said Telstra had designed its packages to meet customers’ needs but the packages would be available to non-Telstra customers as well.

Customers who bought bits-and-piece from other providers, such as HomeKit devices from Apple or smart lighting from Philips could connect them to a ubiquitous Telstra solution. Philips and Sengled wireless lights already worked with the platform.

He said Amazon’s popular Echo home control speaker would feed into Telstra’s system. “We expect hero devices like that to work on the platform,” he said, adding that conversations with other vendors had been “very positive”. “We very much want to have an open platform.”

Telco is using the ZigBee communications protocol for its home system. The company producing its devices iControl Networks claims to more than 36 million of its devices have been installed already.

Mr Chambers said two 24-month packages should be available later this year. They would encompass smart security, automation, energy saving, and more.

One was a “watch and monitor” option package with a camera and motion sensors. The other was an “automation and energy” package which also included smart plugs. Users would own the devices outright at the end of the 24-month payment period, he said.

The system will be showcased at the Technology and Gadget Expo in Melbourne on 25-26 June.

Mr Chambers said Telstra was yet to finalise subscription pricing but it would be lower than competing packages. They would include both the use of the system and devices and were designed for self-installation. Telstra staff could install systems for an extra fee.

Ten connected devices would be available at launch, but given Icontrol Networks arsenal of available equipment, dozens could follow.

Apart from the ZigBee hub that links devices to the internet, there were two types of motion sensors: one was a virtual trip wire that detects someone passing a certain point, the other a wide beam sensor that could detect motion in a hallway or room.

There was a door sensor, window sensor, indoor and outdoor home monitoring cameras, and smart plugs: internet linked double adaptors for appliances. Telstra would also supply a Zen Thermostat and an internet connected Lockwood doorlock. Extra cameras would be available on demand.

Mr Chambers said the connected home industry was predicted to be worth more than $1bn annually in Australia in five years. The average Australian household expected to have 29 connected devices by 2020.

Telstra says users can connect and manage the devices through an app controlled from a desktop, smartphone or tablet.

The platform was being prepared for trial. At launch Telstra would not offer special pricing bundles for its customers but that could come later.



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