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Smart Home

Telstra wants to bring the smart home to mainstream Australia

The Australian telco is bringing a subscription-based smart home platform and product range to the country in time for Christmas this year.

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Nic Healey/CNET

Australia is behind the curve when it comes to smart home automation, but Telstra thinks it might have the right formula. Inventively called the Telstra Smart Home platform, the subscription service is designed to make it simple to set up a connected home.

The telco is partnering with iControl for the networking, with a five year deal in place. The centrepiece is the Telstra Smart Home Hub that uses the ZigBee standard. The Hub will launch with nine companion devices, from the Lockwood smart door lock through to Sengled smart bulbs, plus cameras, thermostats, motion detectors and more.

Telstra essentially want home automation to stop being the domain of early adopters. It's bringing it to a mainstream audience, and with this in mind it'll start by offering packages. The initial two are:

  • Watch and Monitor: The smart hub, plus cameras and motion sensors
  • Automation and Energy: The Hub, plus smart power plugs and motion sensors

This will all be provided as a monthly subscription, just like home broadband or your mobile phone. No pricing yet, but Telstra's executive director of home and premium services, John Chambers, said it would be "roughly the cost of a couple of movie tickets" per month and work on a 24 month contract. You won't need to be an existing Telstra customer.

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You'll probably want the Telstra Smart Home Hub to be turned up the right way.

Nic Healey/CNET

The fee includes ongoing support from Telstra, but not installation. You can self-install, or pay a fee for someone to come out and get it set up for you.

Telstra went to great lengths to hype up the open nature of the platform, saying that it would work on expanding the product range and even work to ensure that any existing smart appliances in a home could be brought onto the network where possible. "We'll be having conversations with customers to see what products are required in terms of future expansion," said Chambers.

A control app for iOS and Android has been developed and a web interface as well. Quizzed about the security of the home network, Telstra said it was working with "world-leading security experts" to ensure the Telstra Smart Home platform was hack-proof.

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Nic Healey/CNET