Though there has been third-party solutions in the past to automate, monitor, and secure homes, those efforts are sometimes bulky, costly, and often confusing. Enter wireless carrier AT&T, which is trying to leverage its experience in mobility to help customers not only secure their homes, but also monitor and control how that security is administered in their homes. By taking an active part in the security of their homes, customers become empowered by the technology that helps them rather than intimidated or overwhelmed.
The Digital Life home is a concept that allows customers to control various aspects of their homes while they’re inside the home or remotely through a smartphone or tablet. These aspects include home security, home automation, and remote monitoring. Basic service costs $30 per month and additional smart packages costs an additional $10 per month. Customers can select and choose the services they want and customize home security and automation to fit their needs.
Customers can choose from two base plans: Simple Security, which is our basic home security package; or Smart Security which includes enhanced security features and the option to add home automation.
- Simple Security - Includes 24/7 home monitoring, 24-hour battery backup, a wireless keypad, keychain remote, recessed sensors and an indoor siren for $29.99 a month plus $149.99 for equipment and installation.
- Smart Security - Includes the benefits of Simple Security plus a choice of three of the following features: motion sensor, carbon monoxide sensor, glass break sensor, smoke sensor or takeover kit. Smart Security begins at $39.99 a month plus $249.99 for equipment and installation.
Customers who select Smart Security can add these automation packages:
- Camera Package - View live video from inside and outside of the home for an additional $9.99 a month plus equipment and installation.
- Energy Package - Control appliances, lighting and thermostats for convenience and energy efficiency for an additional $4.99 a month plus equipment and installation.
- Door Package - Allow a pet sitter or repairman into your home remotely with automated door locks, or check to see whether your garage door is open or closed for an additional $4.99 a month plus equipment and installation.
- Water Detection Package - Detect water leaks before damage occurs for an additional $4.99 a month plus equipment and installation.
- Water Control Package - Detect leaks and shut off water at the main water source for an additional $9.99 a month plus equipment and installation.
Installation will be professionally installed, and customers can add as many cameras as they’d like for one flat monthly fee. Customers will, however, have to pay for the equipment they select as well as any installation charges, but the monthly bill will be simplified. Home security monitoring will be done through AT&T-owned centers.
The nice part about the AT&T solution is that everything works. A central hub is installed and the sensors and monitoring is delivered over a built-in 3G modem. The hub will have a 3G SIM card and will default to WiFi if there are any cellular outages, so WiFi access through whatever provider a customers chooses will be a prerequisite for installation and service.
From there, the security package will come with home monitoring and sirens and alarms. The rate and service that AT&T charges for this is comparable to what alarm companies charge, at least in the L.A. market where the Digital Life home was showcased. Once a smart package is added and cameras are added, users can have motion trigger a camera action that would snap a picture or deliver an alert to a smartphone or tablet. Additionally, users can log in and capture an image manually themselves, arm or disarm their homes, and also shut off other sensors, such as the water line if the Water Control Package detects a leak or pipe burst.
The entire setup is nice in that it when combined with a Door Package, users can log when their home door is opened or accessed and will give reports with photos of when people come in and out of the home. It’s a nice way to let maintenance people or housekeeping into your home, monitor when your kids get home from school, and see if a package arrives at your front door.
When I toured the Digital Life home with AT&T rep Meredith Red in Los Angeles, California, I noticed that the installation was clean and professional. And depending what package you select, AT&T may call out specialized electricians, plumbers, or other specialized installers. Sensors were discretely placed to blend into the home, and the cool part is the remote monitoring where you can access your home while you’re away through a phone or tablet.
For example, if I was on vacation, I could log into my home to turn off the water heater while I was away and turn on the water heater so I could have hot water just as I land to conserve heating and electricity. I could also trigger the lights and turn on the TV remotely so it would seem like there were people in the house still from an outsider’s perspective. And I could also check camera footage to ensure that there isn’t any intruders, and if a situation does arrive AT&T will call for help. AT&T offers several different camera models for indoors and outdoors use, and ones with infrared so you can take pictures in the dark.
Another nice thing about the security aspect is that you can choose a PIN code to arm or disarm the house, but if you were forced by an intruder to disarm the home, you can conspicuously enter your PIN and another four-digit code to signal AT&T’s remote monitoring center that there is a problem without having to press the panic button.
Digital Life is definitely a service that showcases the power of AT&T’s mobile network while combining the strengths of the company’s expansive smartphone and tablet portfolio.