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Telstra launches Smart Home devices and pricing

  • ByZDNet2016-11-16 10:45:52

Telstra launches Smart Home devices and pricing. Science & Technology World Website


Telstra has launched its first swathe of Smart Home products and pricing packages, with devices including cameras, lightbulbs, motion sensors, smart power plugs, a smart door lock, and a thermostat.

Pricing begins at AU$25 per month, which includes the choice between two Smart Home "starter kits": Watch and Monitor, and Automation and Energy -- both of which include the Telstra Smart Home Hub, which controls Internet of Things (IoT) devices in the home through an app across smartphones and tablets.

"Watch and Monitor Starter Kit gives you peace of mind by allowing you to keep an eye on things when you're away from home. The kit comes with two door or window motion sensors, and an indoor HD Wi-Fi Camera that can be set up to record video and take photos or viewed live from the Telstra Smart Home App," John Chambers, executive director of Telstra Home and Premium Services, wrote on Telstra's Exchange Blog.

"Automation and Energy Starter Kit comes with two smart power plugs, two door or window sensors, and a motion sensor, helping you automate lamps or other appliances and control your use of energy."

Customers can also choose to add further devices onto their package at an extra cost, with more devices to be launched in early 2017.

Telstra unveiled the Telstra Smart Home Hub alongside its 10 initial smart devices for the home in June, saying the product is "targeting every Australian".

Telstra showcased a smart lightbulb, a window sensor, a door sensor, wide-beam motion sensors, a smart power plug, the Lockwood smart door lock, a smart thermostat, an outdoor Wi-Fi camera, an indoor Wi-Fi camera, and the Smart Home hub itself.

Chambers said at the time that the packages would be offered on a 24-month signup basis and paid month by month.

Cynthia Whelan, group executive of International and New Businesses, said IoT in the home is an industry that is expected to generate a significant amount of revenue in future.

"Today, the average Australian household has about nine connected devices, and it's forecast that by about 2020, which is only three and a half years away, the average number of connected devices in Australian homes will be closer to 30," Whelan said at the time.

"In the next five years, it's been forecast that the smart home industry in Australia is going to be worth more than AU$1 billion annually. When you take into account the home services market, which is already around about AU$50 billion per annum, and the potential for disrupting that market is significant, so when you put the two together, they're quite conservative numbers about where the market might grow to."

In September, Katherine Robins, principal security expert at Telstra, said Telstra has been experimenting with a combination of blockchain and biometric security for its IoT smart home offerings, including the switches and cameras.

"Effectively, if you're going to run a smart home environment, you're running it off an app on a device," Robins said.

"If I have malware on that device, and then my phone's compromised; I can no longer validate whether that is me controlling that phone. So we started tying in identity into this. And the way that we did that is we started looking at biometrics, so we did facial recognition and voice recognition, and we tied those fingerprints to the blockchain so that could not be tampered with."

By integrating biometrics into the app and the blockchain testing, Robins said users could then validate their identity.

"This rounded it out for us -- so we had our blockchain-backed tamper events on devices, and we had the ability to verify the identity of the person who was accessing the device at a point in time via biometrics."

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