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When South Jordan resident Ray Child goes out of town on vacation, the last thing he has to worry about is whether or not his house will still be standing, untouched, when he returns. And when he’s at work and it’s time for his kids to come home from school, he doesn’t have to wonder if they’ve gotten home yet—he’ll get a text message and a picture showing him. Child gets this peace of mind and unique technology from Comcast’s Xfinity Home program.
Child, who is also the senior director of public relations for the Mountain Region of Comcast Cable, has Xfinity Home installed in his home for the sole purpose of providing a custom security system, unique home automation and peace of mind.
“For me, this is all about peace of mind,” he said. “It gives me all the lifestyle options, and it’s a top-flight security system.”
Dennis Mathew, vice president of Xfinity Home, said the system has several unique features. The “brains of the system,” he said, is a touch screen panel with a variety of apps that provide access to the home’s video monitoring cameras, turn lights on and off, and adjust the thermostat. It also includes a help and frequently asked questions app with videos to help customers. The entire system can also be controlled through an iPad app or an app on iPhone or Android phones.
Mathew said one of the best features of the system is the Ecosaver solution on the thermostat.
“The Ecosaver solution is a cloud-based technology that learns your heating and cooling preferences,” he said. “It will learn how long it takes to heat and cool your home, it will understand the temperature outside, and it takes all that data and mashes it up and figures out how to run your HVAC system more efficiently.”
Other features to the system include water sensors that can be placed next to sump pumps or water heaters that will check for any leaks and send a text message to the homeowner if one is detected, sensors next to smoke alarms that will send a call to the local fire department if smoke is detected, and an appliance module.
“We have modules that work with small appliances, so if you’re paranoid that you left the curling iron on, you can simply plug it into the device and right from your phone you can check all you want to make sure it’s off,” Mathew said. “You can use it with irons, curling irons, coffee machines—a whole host of small appliances.”
“Rules” can also be set on the system, Mathew said, meaning the system can be set to take a picture every time the front door is opened or the hall light can be set to turn on at night every time someone walks past the hallway’s motion detector.
The system can be hardwired into a new home or one with an existing security system or it can be set up wirelessly. Xfinity Home was first used in a test market in Houston in 2010, but it launched nationally in 2012.
“It’s been going very well [in Utah],” Child said. “It has been a fast-growing product and we’re really gaining momentum with it. Nobody else has this combination of security, automation and innovation.”
Mathew said over the next year to year and a half, Comcast will be looking at where else they can take the Xfinity Home technology. Currently, the company is working on a smart door lock that can be locked from the outside with a light touch of the palm and can be unlocked from the outside with a four-digit code.