Recently, news broke that Comcast partnered with Alarm.com (damn, that is a great domain name!) to acquire the smart home-focused company Icontrol. This acquisition is not coming out of left-field; Comcast has been invested in Icontrol for a while now – powering their existing solutions with the company’s more advanced tech.
Who is Icontrol?
OK, so who is this company that we are all now talking about? Icontrol is not a startup, it’s more than a decade year old, and its portfolio manages over 36 million connected devices. Currently headquartered in Austin, TX, the company was originally founded in Palo Alto, CA. The company is focused on smart home tech, hubs, and security. It develops and owns the smart technology that powers many connected home programs and security platforms. In fact, Icontrol’s technology powers systems that you have heard of before, and that you might even use, including some ADT systems, and as I mentioned above, the Nfinity Home solution from Comcast. So, if they are such a big deal in the smart home space, why haven’t you ever heard of them before this deal? There is a simple answer to that: they have largely been a business to business company. They aren’t the shiny, public face of smart homes; they are the wizard behind the curtain.
The Deal with the Deal
Comcast is a tech and media company that powers cable television, home phone services, and home security to residential and commercial clients. They merged with NBC Universal in 2012, and they have their headquarters in Philadelphia, as well as corporate offices in many other cities. If you know anything about Comcast, it’s probably that they don’t have the best reputation with their customer service. I’ve seen a lot of responses to this acquisition announcement where people are basically saying “nope.”
Alarm.com is a public company that offers software as a service. They support independent smart home and security service providers, but has had limited direct contact with the consumer industry. The company considers the service provider, not the consumer, to be its customers.
With that background information, you can start to understand why Comcast and Alarm.com would be interested in this acquisition. Here’s what we know so far about the deal:
- Icontrol’s assets will be split between Comcast and Alarm.com
- Comcast will get the Converge platform and wholesale business
- Comcast did not disclose the cost of their side of the deal
- Icontrol already powers Comcast’s Xfinity home platform, and will continue to do so
- Converge is also used by other cable companies – competitors of Comcast – but the company plans to continue to offer those companies the same services
- Comcast plans to open a new office in Austin that serves as an engineering hub
- Alarm.com will get the Piper business, which focuses on cameras and security systems
- Alarm.com will also get the enterprise home security Connect platform, which currently powers a service for ADT
- Alarm.com disclosed that their deal cost around $140 million
Photo by: Mike Mozart