While I might have been banging on about the smart home for many years now, the companies involved in Smart Home style products like power, lights, sensors and cameras are all doing so as part of their overall business and don’t have the reach that someone like Telstra has – so we’ve got a solid competition ahead of us to own your Smart Home.
While Belkin have their Wemo switches, lights and bulbs, and Netgear have their Arlo Cameras and Philips have the Hue lights – you do have to be a bit of an early adopter and quite frankly have a solid nerdy streak to understand how to get them to all work together with services like IFTTT.
Telstra will launch their Telstra Smart Home packages later this year (no set date, but before Christmas) which will offer a complete solution, on a subscription basis which is a real point of difference for consumers.
Instead of forking out hundreds of dollars for cameras or switches, the Telstra Smart Home will be a subscription service – sign up to a 24 month contract and you’ll get your package paid off over two years as well as having Telstra support available when you need it.
And it’s not just for Telstra customers. Of course, Telstra Customers will have one level of support for internet/wifi/Smart Home so there’s no passing the buck – but for non-Telstra customers you’ll have an affordable entry into the Smart Home market.
With everything from lights, to switches, cameras, door locks, window sensors and a Thermostat there’s a wide range of products available.
Telstra have achieved this through a five-year exclusive partnership with Control Networks who make all the kit and cloud systems, while there are also some other products from companies like Sengled part of the range. Telstra want it to be an open system so other manufacturers gear can work, but don’t expect your Arlo cameras to show up in Telstra Smart home any time soon – while it’s “Open” that’s not for you and I to add to, it’s for Telstra to work with companies to add products to the range – we can only hope!
There will be Two different Smart Home packages will be available at launch later this year – the ‘Watch and Monitor’ will have things like motion sensors and cameras, while the ‘Automation and Energy’ option will have smart plugs, motion sensors and things to make your home more efficient.
All in all, very exciting – while I don’t love the idea of a “telco” jumping into ground well covered by some very solid brands, I do think they have the best chance of “normalising” the concept for the masses – that’s really what matters.