Which security/telco collaboration will work?


Here’s a story I saw this morning from the Austin American-Statesman about uControl getting funding. The funding is something I reported on a couple weeks ago in a story I wrote called The telcos are coming!

This story included something interesting that my story didn’t touch on, some quotes from ABI research about partnerships between home security providers and telcos. His story quotes an ABI analyst saying the company who partners first, will win the race. Further, he identifies uControl’s rivals as iControl and 4Home.

Sam Lucero, an analyst for New York-based ABI Research, said cable companies are under pressure to increase revenue by delivering new services, and reselling home security is a natural fit.

“In addition to a new revenue stream, it creates an incentive for customers to stay with their provider,” Lucero says. “The more services you get from one provider, the less likely you are to go through the hassle of switching.”

Lucero ranks uControl as a front-runner, but he said it will be challenged by a handful of rivals, including iControl Networks Inc. of Palo Alto, Calif., and 4Home Inc., which is based in Sunnyvale, Calif., and backed by Verizon Wireless.

“They’re are all relatively small privately held companies, so the test will be who can establish partnerships with the big cable and Internet service providers first,” Lucero says. “To succeed, you’ll have to be part of substantial networks.”

UControl says it has signed deals with three regional telecommunications players and three national players, whose names will be disclosed as they begin offering home security this fall.

While I think Luceros’ take is interesting, when I was reading this story, I thought of InGrid (which is now called Lifeshield and has taken a direct-to-consumer tack) which was talking up partnerships with cable companies a couple years ago. Here a story I wrote about that in 2008.

As far as I know, InGrid only announced partnerships with regional cable companies, not national cable companies. However, those partnerships did not succeed the way InGrid had anticipated, and as I mentioned above, InGrid now Lifeshield is now going direct-to-consumer.

There are a variety of reasons why previous go-rounds with cable companies didn’t work out. UControl, for example, says that it wasn’t ready to partner with cable companies until recently. It is just now ready to offer cable company partners the support and platform they need to succeed in security.

I’m not trying to insinuate that partnerships with cable companies won’t work. There seems to be a strong argument that they can work. It does seems to me that he who partners first may not necessarily win the race.