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Comcast adds 'smart' thermostat feature to home automation service

Published April 1, 2014 9:34 am

Home security • Thermostat can figure out the best way to manipulate temperature in the home to save on energy bills.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Comcast, the country's largest cable television company, has expanded its home automation and security product, adding a new feature that uses a "smart" thermostat to control your home's temperature.

In 2012 Comcast launched Xfinity Home, a service that can add home automation and security features through a monthly charge. They include motion sensors for doors and windows that if breached can alert the homeowner with a mobile phone notification or even call police through Comcast's central office. Customers also can install water sensors to detect flooding and webcams that can be viewed from a computer or mobile device. Xfinity Home also can control lights inside and outside the house as well as use smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

Comcast has also included a smart thermostat to the package called "Eco Saver" that not only can be controlled remotely through a mobile app, but it also can automatically calculate how long it takes to warm up or cool down the home and manipulate the temperature the most efficient way.

"It can learn your heating and cooling preferences. It's also going to understand the footprint of your home and how long it will cool and heat the home," said Dennis Mathew, vice president of Xfinity Home. "It runs your heating system and cooling system more efficiently while you're staying comfortable."

The new thermostat is similar to the $250 Nest Thermostat, which can be programmed to learn the living patterns of people in the home and adjust the inside temperature accordingly.

Later in the year, Comcast will also be adding automatic door locks that use a handprint scanner. You can unlock the door by just placing your hand on a plate or by inputing a numeric code. You also can lock or unlock the doors remotely to let in a family member or friend.

Currently, Home is sold through three tiers, a home-automation-only pricing for $19.95 per month in which you can only control the lights, doors, thermostat and other home functions. For $29.95 to $49.95, you can add home security features in which break-ins can automatically alert police or firefighters. In addition to the monthly fees, customers also must pay for kits that include all of the equipment, including sensors, webcams and lighting systems.

Comcast is just one of several television providers, including DirecTV and Time-Warner Cable, that have gone into the home security field. One of the country's largest home automation and home security companies, Vivint, is based in Provo.

vince@sltrib.com

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