Applications News

Connected homes: O2 to offer connected hub to UK customers

According to news from CES last week, mobile operator O2 will offer its UK customers a smart home connected hub by the summer.

With an estimate 4 million smart homes in the UK, there are millions more potential homes that could sign up to O2’s system (the company has around 25 million customers), which combines central heating, security and energy management into a single Internet-connected platform.

O2 has reportedly joined with AT&T in the US to bring its Digital Life home management system to Europe. AT&T provides the software, while thermostat company tado° will also be involved.


In the U.S., AT&T describes Digital Life as follows:

“AT&T Digital Life is an all-digital, wireless home management system. With 24/7 professional monitoring, an easy app to help manage your home remotely, programs to simplify daily routines and text and email notifications, Digital Life gives its customers flexibility to manage their home from almost anywhere. Digital Life home security and automation helps keep you connected and protected. Now you can secure your home, check in on the kids or pets, and adjust the temperature all on the go – giving you more freedom, flexibility, and peace of mind”.

AT&T also sells the whole system in modular packages, e.g. start with “Smart Security” and add on a Camera Package (live video from indoor and outdoor cameras), Door Package or Water Package for an additional monthly fee. Presumably, O2 may follow a similar pricing model where customers can buy a base system and then add more features as required.

Connected Home

O2 will apparently launch devices that connect to a hub, such as cameras, locks, alarms, and smoke sensors, combined with a smartphone app to allow users to control the house. And like other smart systems, there will also be an element of learning the habits of the homeowner, to control some of the devices automatically. The hub apparently also includes a SIM card and can be used as a backup for broadband.

O2 digital director David Plumb, said (as reported in the FT): “Across a range of sectors, we’ve already seen technology evolve from analogue to digital to smart. But when it comes to our homes, the experience is mostly stuck in analogue. At O2 we are building an ecosystem that will deliver a complete smart home experience. By teaming up with the very best device, platform and service providers, we will be able to give people the smartest tech for their homes”.

By Roland Banks

Roland Banks has been passionate about mobile technology for the past 20 years. He started his career at British Telecom's research division working on collaborative virtual reality environments, before becoming a video streaming specialist at 3 UK where he helped launch some of the world's first mobile video services. More recently he enjoys writing about his obsession, and developing software that helps mobile operators analyse their subscriber data.

Roland has lived in Asia for the past 5 years, and tries to indulge his other passion for riding motorcycles whenever possible.

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