AT&T showcased its Digital Life home (yes, the actual home!) at the 2014 CTIA show in Las Vegas, demonstrating its many capabilities beyond just Home Security and announcing that it would launch Digital Life care – a service focused on the aging population (elder care). It also announced that Telefonica would be licensing the Digital Life platform to launch services in Europe in 2015.
Its been a little over 2 years since AT&T announced the Digital Life product, which is now available in 82 markets. The Digital Life platform is an all-IP based, 100% wireless solution currently offering home security and home automation services.
The platform has operated as a “wall-garden” with a select group of partners to ensure the highest level of quality of experience for the customer. However, during 2014, AT&T has developed an API program that will allow for more devices and capabilities.
To do this there will be a separate platform to serve as the service layer for third party integration to interact with Digital Life. This service layer sits between the cloud and AT&T’s ecosystem with foundational modules that include security and customer management.
Digital Life Care
AT&T announced its plans to launch a new in-home monitoring service focused on assisted living/elder care – called simply enough – Digital Life Care. The intention of this type of service is to help those that need extra care to safely and independently remain in their own home and provide peace of mind for their family.
In this type of application, sensors are typically placed throughout the house to monitor a person or persons. Depending on the application, a family member or caregiver are alerted when anything out of the norm occurs.
According to AT&T, the platform is a customized solution that adapts to the changing needs of the caregivers by providing real time monitoring and accurate alerts related to their loved one’s eating, personal care, mobility, medication schedule and more.
AT&T expects to trial this service to employees in Atlanta and Dallas this year.
Broadbandtrends conducted a global operator study on Smart Home services at the end of 2013. We asked operators which services they currently offered and which services they were planning to offer in the future. As shown, Home Automation and Home Security ranked the highest. While only a small percentage – 23% planned to offer Elder Care/Assisted Living services. According to some respondents, there are liability concerns regarding this type of service, so it will be interesting to see exactly what AT&T will support when it launches commercially.
Telefonica – The first of many service provider partners
AT&T also announced that Telefónica will license its Digital Life platform for limited trials in Europe. According to Telefónica, the first tests are likely to be in Madrid or London, however, the technology is currently being examined by European regulators. Regulation for security and home monitoring (such as fire/water detection) services varies considerably from country to country – particularly if it is a professional service.
Per Telefonica, the trials will cover approximately 750 customers.
According to our 2013 survey, the overwhelming driver for deployment/offering of smart home services was new revenue opportunities, followed by customer retention. The same is true for Telefonica, which is looking for new revenue opportunities as demand for other services slow.
Smart Home Services offer a potentially lucrative revenue stream for telecom operators. These types of services can not only differentiate the operator from the competition, but they proving to be “quite sticky” with respect to customer retention.
Additionally, Telecom operators are well positioned to offer these services due to their trusted relationship with their customers, a skilled workforce, billing relationship, etc.. As such, we expect to see many more operators look towards AT&T for potential licensing arrangements.