Secure line: AT&T to launch home security biz in March

The telecom company will launch in eight markets in March, and roll out to 50 markets by the end of the year.

AT&T is pushing the Digital Life, a concept that connects multiple devices in the home. Pictured is the home where AT&T first showed off the service in New Orleans. Seth Rosenblatt

LAS VEGAS--AT&T said today that it plans to launch its home security service in March in eight markets, representing a new business for the telecommunications giant.

The Dallas company said it will make its "Digital Life" home service available in 50 markets by the end of the year as the company slowly expands its rollout.

Why is a phone company getting into home security? AT&T believes it's a market that's ripe for "a face-lift," one that's fragmented and based on antiquated technology.

"We hope to completely change the game in this industry," said Glenn Lurie, president of emerging devices for AT&T.

Digital Life is one of the big priorities for AT&T as it looks to different revenue streams. The company is looking beyond its core wireline and wireless businesses, which are starting to see slowing growth.

AT&T has high expectations for how quickly this business will begin delivering revenue. Lurie told CNET that subscriber numbers should start showing up this year, and revenue will begin showing up next year.

Digital Life isn't just about home security. It includes the ability to remotely control and monitor devices in the home. The hope for the company is that any device in the home that can be connected to a network will get the chance for a connection.

The service will be customizable, and easy to use, Lurie boasted. It will be based on a wireless network, and on Internet protocol technology. AT&T will own every facet of the business, from the installation process to customer service and monitoring.

AT&T will have the services available to try out at its AT&T wireless retail stores. Unlike other home security company, AT&T won't be showing ads with burglars breaking into homes; instead, it will focus on the capabilities enabled by its services -- features like the ability to remotely check on who is at the front door, and open it for a family member or friend.

While AT&T will show off the services in its stores, Lurie said consumers will be able to order it online, and even build the package of service like it would build a car at an auto dealer Web site.

Updated at 12:28 p.m. PT: to include comments from AT&T executive.

 

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