iControl uControl merge

First came ADT, next will be broadband, and ‘utilities will jump onboard in the next 18 to 14 months.
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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

PALO ALTO, Calif.—Home security and management providers iControl and uControl are no longer competitors following their Nov. 4 merger. The new company will assume the iControl Networks’ name and be headquartered here while uControl’s Austin, Texas office will become a division of iControl. Jim Johnson, CEO of uControl, and Paul Dawes, CEO of iControl, are now co-CEOs of the new company.

“Jim and I recognize that there’s a huge market opportunity and that we’ve each built technologies that are complementary in many ways,” Dawes said. “Together we can offer the best possible solution.”

The solution includes interactive home security, energy management and home health care solutions to broadband service providers, home security companies and utilities.

IControl has established a partnership with home security giant ADT, while uControl has tailored its platform for telcos and broadband providers. Johnson said iControl is now being asked to develop what uControl has already developed and vice versa.

“We look at this as a chance to merge the technologies into a single platform that can accommodate what all of the service providers want to provide,” Johnson said.

How will the platforms be combined? The details of that were being worked out on Nov. 5. “We’ve got our teams together. Right now we are offsite with executives from both companies and we’re mapping out how to do that,” Dawes said.

Johnson described the unique attributes of each system this way: “At the highest level, the uControl technology is a nice, all-in-one touch screen-based wireless security system. It’s a simple-to-install solution. The iControl integrates with existing security systems very well, it has video technology and camera technology and great touch screen technology.”

Dawes said he considers the first major roll out of a connected home system to be the launch in September of [iControl partner] ADT’s Pulse service. Broadband providers will quickly follow on, he said, saying the company will soon be announcing the launch of its service with a “very large broadband provider.” Neither he nor Johnson could release the name of that provider.

One major broadband provider, Comcast, has made investments in iControl in the past. CE Pro reports that there’s speculation that iControl and uControl merged to get the Xfinity (formerly Comcast’s) home security and home management business.

Dawes said that “utility companies will get into the mix” in the next 18- to 24 months. IControl is “already in trials with many of these utilities,” he said.

Dawes said he believes the home security market is potentially much larger than the “$9 billion home security market it’s considered today.” He believes it will be a $20 billion market within five- to 10-years. It won’t take that long for the market to achieve scale, he said. “We believe millions of homes will have this technology within the next two to three years.”

The adoption of its services will be helped by ADT’s massive marketing push of its Pulse product, which is planned for the fourth quarter this year. In addition, there will be a major marketing push by the aforementioned “large broadband operator,” when it launches, Dawes said

Furthermore, Dawes said, “a whole class of broadband providers [will be] launching [iControl services] over the next quarter or so.”

“We see the market converging much more rapidly than expected,” he said.