AT&T is pushing into home automation and security with Digital Life, a new service rolling out across 15 cities, which should carve out yet another niche for the US telecom giant. The initial sell for Digital Life is security, but the upsell is home automation, all managed through an AT&T website and an AT&T hub connected over …
the wrong way?
(just thinking out loud)
I found this sort of puzzling. So what is the AT&T hub doing apart from providing routing to the 'net? Rather than have a proprietary hub serving 'things' I thought the Internet-of-things was all about autonomous devices providing data back to the cloud.
Well I guess the hub could be a personal cloud but you may as well base the cloud part offsite (i.e. not at your home but using an online service).
So some scenarios: Home security - the door magnetic sensor detects a change a logs a 'door event', the door mat records a pressure change so it 'knows' someone just came in. It sends a broadcast to the local network which is received by the lighting gadget to switch on a light after querying the outside light-sensor for light level data. How good is that?! I'm going to whip out the Arduinos later and try it.
Still don't need the central hub though.
Re: the wrong way?
Well, reporting is great, but you might occasionally want to do something with your stuff. You might send a trigger to unlock the door for a legitimate guest. This sort of ad hoc request would not work well with autonomous devices. Integration has at least the potential for other benefits, to, not the least of which is ease of management. So in that sense, at least, the set-up sounds OK.
I would be more concerned with things like privacy issues and creating a single point of failure. AT&T is as capable as any other faceless corporation of selling all sorts of data about our personal lives... and this service would be very personal indeed. It has the potential for gathering and tracking an enormous amount of information (a complete and ongoing household inventory matched to individual members cross-referenced by buying habits, et cetera).
So the point of the central hub would be similar to other data gathering efforts: offer something that is convenient, swear to the people who will provide the data that you are going to sell that their privacy will be protected, then sell to the highest bidder. Extra points for getting the product to pay for the privilege of being sold.
New type of hacker to follow soon
William Gibson eat your heart out.
There are other ways to unlock your door.
This doesn't require AT&T or a hub.
I have AT&T now. Last thing I want to do is to buy anymore services from them.
Re: There are other ways to unlock your door.
Hide-a-key. Neighbor has a key.
This whole thing is a solution in search of a problem, as far as I'm concerned. That doesn't mean it isn't of interest to others, but I'll have a home automation system when they shove it into my cold, dead hands.
I have AT&T now. Last thing I want to do is to buy any more services from them.
Ditto. Even ff I were interested in this Internet of Things nonsense, I wouldn't want AT&T involved. Just today I had to cancel yet another pointless service they'd helpfully added to my mobile account. And at least once a week I get the same offer from them, by mail, for AT&T U-verse or whatever they're calling it now. They've sent me probably fifty or sixty of those letters; even at business rates that's an absurd per-customer marketing expense.
Nothing could possibly go wrong, could it?
The name "Digital Life" seems somewhat Orwellian, especially when you stop to consider that all of those cameras will be watching US as well as our things.
-Anonymous Coward, and trying to stay that way.
NSA DEBUTS 'DIGITAL LIFE' ROBO-HOME AND SECURITY TECH
There. Fixed the title for you.
I made my own robot hub
I covered my butler in glue and then wrapped him in tinfoil.
I tried that
It didn't end well.
Who'd have guessed monkeys don't like to be smeared with PVA adhesive.