This router could presage a move by Comcast to expand its presence in the smart home market.
Internet service provider (ISP) Comcast has rolled out its xFi Advanced Gateway to all its markets in the US, bringing the high-performance router that packs in a number of smart home capabilities to a wide audience, reports ZDNet.
This latest step could presage a move by Comcast to expand its presence in the smart home market, either through an expansion of its Xfinity Home professionally installed smart home service, or by supporting various self-installed consumer devices.
The xFi Advanced Gateway supports Gigabit Wi-Fi speeds to allow fast in-network communication, but can also connect devices using smart home standards like ZigBee and Bluetooth Low-Energy (LE). The inclusion of these standards means that smart home devices like connected light bulbs, thermostats, and security cameras can use Comcast’s new router as a hub, eliminating the need for separate third-party hub.
This is similar to what Amazon is trying to accomplish with its Echo Plus smart speaker, which includes a similar smart home hub with connectivity. Both companies are looking to make it easier to set up and use smart home devices by eliminating a piece of hardware and a potential barrier.
Comcast is opening up a couple of potential routes to growth with its xFi Advanced Gateway and expanded smart home support:
- It could look to strengthen its Xfinity Home professionally installed smart home product. The ISP’s smart home offering boasts 1.79 million subscribers, all of whom pay a monthly fee starting at $40 for the home security and automation service. Using a device like the xFi Advanced Gateway will allow customers to opt for a wider range of devices that Comcast personnel can install around the home, which could, in turn, make the service more versatile and attract more customers.
- The ISP could also introduce support and management for consumer-grade self-installed smart home devices. There’s only a limited market for professionally installed smart home systems — BI Intelligence expects 13.5 million households will subscribe to those systems in 2021 — but a potentially larger market exists for stand-alone smart home devices. While some devices use just Wi-Fi and could connect to any router, many also use specialized standards like ZigBee, Z-Wave, or Bluetooth LE. Comcast could establish a marketplace of sorts, in a manner similar to what Vodafonedid for wireless IoT devices, by pairing devices with services to build up new revenue streams, thereby making it a central player in the smart home market.
- Analyzes current consumer demand for smart home devices based off results from BI Intelligence's proprietary survey.
- Forecasts future growth in the number of smart home devices installed in American homes.
- Analyzes the factors influencing the proliferation of voice control devices in the homes.
- Identifies and analyzes the market strategies of various companies that have integrated voice control into their smart home ecosystems.
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