Broadband Home Management Rivals Join Forces

PALO ALTO,  Calif. — Competing broadband home management providers iControl Networks and uControl announce they have entered into a definitive merger agreement. Both companies offer home monitoring, security and energy management products accessible through the Internet and mobile phones.

Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Headquartered in Palo   Alto, Calif., the combined company will be called iControl Networks. Paul Dawes, CEO of iControl, and Jim Johnson, CEO of uControl, will serve as co-CEOs of the new company.

The new business has launched commercially with several service providers and will announce additional deployments in the future, according to a statement. The company will also continue with commercial trials and deployments as planned.

The merger combines competing protocol technologies that communicate with security sensors and other devices. uControl uses the low-power, wireless mesh networking standard ZigBee, while iControl uses Z-Wave.

Bill Ablondi, director of home systems for research firm Parks Associates tells SSI, the combined company will reduce some of the variables involved in deciding what protocol to utilize for the various IP-based security and home automation solutions.

“With Z-Wave and ZigBee all under the same roof, the decision process [for customers] can be made a little simpler, as well as the fact that the company now is more robust because of the joining of forces technologically and marketing-wise,” Ablondi says. “I think it will be a positive sign for the industry, and I believe others that are even competitors see it that way.”

Investors in iControl include ADT and Cisco. The recently unveiled ADT Pulse, an interactive solution which integrates home controls and security, utilizes a Z-Wave module for communicating with multiple devices. uControl’s solutions have been preferred by cable operators such as Comcast.

“I believe that as these IP security systems come into use, [there will be an] awareness for not just intrusion detection, fire and smoke in terms of prompting people to acquire security systems, but also activity monitoring and other types of solutions will expand the industry overall,” Ablondi says. “But it’s not going to happen immediately.”




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