O2 is preparing to launch a unified smart home ecosystem in the UK, which will incorporate AT&T’s Digital Life platform and Tado’s connected appliances.
Details of the as of yet unnamed service are thin on the ground right now, but Tado, better known for its smart thermostats and air conditioner controls, says that you’ll be able to turn on smart lights, arm and disarm alarm systems and call the elevator, should you be lucky enough to live in a house or apartment with a smart lift.
Much like Nest’s evolving family of smart devices, AT&T’s Digital Life service, lets you control multiple appliances from one app. A central hub will unify all devices and connect to your broadband router, allowing you to control everything remotely.
Related: Tado launches IFTTT channels for Heating and CoolingLike Climote’s zoned heating system, this hub is said to feature an embedded SIM card which means customers will remain connected should their fixed-line connection buckle and fail.
O2’s digital director David Plumb said: “By partnering with the very best device, platform and service providers, we will be able to give people the smartest tech for their homes.
“But crucially, we will use our O2 Gurus, with installation experts, to make it easy and simple for people to get the most out of that tech, ensuring they can save money and time or simply gain peace of mind.”
It’s unclear how (or even if) O2’s new smart home service will tie into its existing contract to run smart meter communications for the majority of UK households. O2, along with Arqiva, won a £2.1bn government contract in 2013 to run communications networks for the central and southern regions of the UK, with Arqiva snapping up contracts to run the northern.
Not to be confused with smart thermostats like Tado, Nest and Hive, smart meters send readings back to energy suppliers in real time, thereby doing away with the need for estimated bills or meter readings. The UK government wants every UK home and business to be fitted with a smart meter by 2020.
What’s also unclear is if O2’s new system will attract other hardware players. Tado’s CEO Christian Deilmann has said in the past that his company is unlikely to offer a diverse range of products anytime soon, preferring to concentrate on heating. The FT reports (subscription needed) that O2’s offering will include smart plugs, cameras, alarms, door locks, water and smoke sensors, though it’s not clear if O2 will be making these itself or if it will set up a Works With Nest/Weave/HomeKit-type program.
We can expect to hear more about that throughout the rest of the year; O2’s smart home system due for a summer 2016 launch, which means we’ll be able to get our houses nice and warm in time for the following winter.
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