Today it was announced that iControl, a smart home platform provider that powers smart home and security services from the likes of Comcast, Time Warner and Cox, will buy BlacSumac, the company behind the do-it-yourself Piper home security and automation device.
For the first time, the buy puts iControl into the direct-to-consumer smart home and security business, a sign of how the fast-changing smart home world is creating new opportunities for incumbents where newer technologies can both open up new markets and impact established business models.
In other words, the reason iControl made this acquisition is there is a big chunk of the market today that they could never reach through their traditional product offering. Before this move, the company had two main business lines, both of which went to market through service provider partners. The first is a smart home and security platform that powers branded offerings from cable providers like Comcast. The second business unit provides smart home services to telecom and security providers (iControl powers ADT's smart home offering, Pulse) who may already offer home security services.
And now with Piper, the company will sell directly to the consumer. This is a big deal because what this means is that for the first time, consumers will have access to the iControl platform without a subscription fee.
As I’ve written for NextMarket in an analysis of the home security market, traditional monitored home security only reaches a segment of the population today, and new DIY smart home solutions coming to market now will expand the market to those who traditionally wouldn’t buy a monitored home security offering but are willing to invest in a product that will give them a greater feeling of security and awareness of what is going on in their home.
Bottom line, it’s a hugely dynamic time right now in the smart home and security market, and this acquisition is likely the first of many moves by traditional smart home players to bolster their line to enter the direct-to-consumer market.