Eco Game-Changer by Comcast?

June 12, 2013

That tremor shaking the energy efficiency world this week was Comcast announcing that its Xfinity Home control services allowing remote control of lights and thermostats is being made available to cable subscribers—not just those who purchase security systems through the service provider. (Security services are now called Xfinity Home Secure.)

Comcast EcoSaver

Be afraid, be very afraid?

The big part of this is called EcoSaver. Comcast also has a partnership with software company EcoFactor to deliver cloud-based energy analytics of a house, using a connected thermostat as a sensor of sorts. The EcoFactor technology could be an AI (artificial intelligence) game changer in home energy efficiency, as it reads the thermal characteristics of the house and how well the HVAC system is performing to make micro-adjustments to the thermostat that save you money without a change in comfort. As some have said, this is a Nest thermostat without the … you know … Nest.

So big deal, you say? Comcast makes its basic home energy management available to more people. It is a big deal if they start selling it to more people. Because many people don’t even know they can save money this way—and it’s easy to go through a service provider you already have. Don’t underestimate the power of big service providers like Comcast, ADT, Verizon et al.

They can and will sell to all ends of their subscriber spectrums—luxury homes included, if people don’t think there is another option—or a better option.

Last week Comcast also announced  a partnership with Osram Sylvania to launch remote controlled, smart LED light bulbs. Said Mitch Bowling, Senior Vice President and General Manager of New Businesses for Comcast Cable. “Home automation is a growing trend that takes complex ideas and turns them into simple solutions that can be delivered to thousands of people.”

Comcast will start its LED rollout with the 700-lumen Sylvania Ultra iQLED BR30 flood light bulb has a life of 35,000 hours and has integrated dimming controls that use the ZigBee Home Automation standard so it can be controlled wirelessly for quick and easy adjustments using a smartphone or the Xfinity Home app.  Pricing and availability for the SYLVANIA bulb will be announced at a later date.

Custom electronics integrators and others may be able to offer much better energy management services to homeowners than that being offered by service providers, But people have to know this. Otherwise, the Comcasts of the world could dominate this market.

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