Comcast’s Xfinity Home aims for comprehensive control
By Paul Sullivan For The Courier-News May 21, 2012 4:24PM
XFINITY Project Manager Michael Bovilsky with the touchscreen that manages all the XFINITY Home components in his home. | Paul Sullivan photo
Updated: July 1, 2012 12:58PM
In 1955, an actor named Ronald Reagan, his wife Nancy and their children Patty and Ron appeared in a TV commercial for General Electric about living better electrically.
The Reagans gave viewers a tour of their Pacific Palisades home and demonstrated how, at a single control panel, they could change the intensity or color of the lighting anywhere in the house.
Fast forward to 2012 to living better electronically at Comcast Project Manager Michael Bovilsky’s Chicago home. Using Comcast’s recently launched Xfinity Home, Bovilsky can change the lighting and so many other things in his home using his iPad, or similar Wi-Fi device or Web portal from anywhere in the world.
Xfinity Home is a complete home automation system that offers traditional home security services such as police and fire alarm protection, plus home monitoring, live streaming cameras, thermostat programming/control and lighting control. The company soon will be adding water/flood sensors and personal emergency capabilities. In Bovilsky’s home, sensors are interconnected via a 5-by-7-inch touch-screen device that can be plugged in anywhere capable of receiving a Wi-Fi signal, all without drilling holes or adding electrical service.
Said Bovilsky, “Say I arrive home with an armload of groceries. Sitting in my driveway, I can disarm the security code, turn on the lights and change the thermostat The system is expandable. As we develop new technologies, we can add those. With an electronic door lock, I could unlock the door remotely if my kids get locked out.”
It can be set to time comings and goings to the home and will keep a monthly log of all activity.
Jack Segal, Comcast VP of public relations, said, “If none of the doors open at 4 when the kids are due home from school, the system can text you or send an email. Or you want to know what time your teenager really got in last night. You want to see your kids playing in the basement, you can watch live streaming video of them from anywhere. If you’re on vacation and forgot to turn down the furnace, you can do it. You can be incredibly creative with the system. We expect people will come up with all kinds of different ways to use the sensors. Someday, we’ll attach a sensor to Grandma’s pill bottle to make sure she’s taking her medicine every day.”
On a lighter side, customers have used Xfinity Home to discover where the cat sleeps all day, how long the housekeeper actually stays, and how long the dog walker really spends with the dog.
Comcast Xfinity Home service is available in many areas of central and northern Illinois, northwest Indiana and southwest Michigan. Prices range from $29.95 to $49.95 per month. In a press release, Comcast projected a 15 percent savings on heating and air conditioning for Xfinity Home customers and a possible 20 percent discount on home insurance.
For further information about equipment, additional features and special introductory offers through the end of June, see www.XFINITY.com/home or call 1-888-223-5723.