By now you’ve probably heard of AT&T’s new Digital Life service, the subscription-based home security and monitoring system that adds a touch of basic home automation to the package. Digital Life is still new, and only available in select markets, so I’ve been curious to see how its home automation offerings compare to something like Control4. Thankfully, my buddy (and 2010 Montgomery County Pennsylvania Poet Laureate) Grant Clauser of Electronic House recently had the chance to visit the home of an AT&T engineer named Chris, whose suburban Philadelphia home is equipped with a Digital Life system. In an article published this week, Grant breaks down the installation process, the system’s capabilities, and how it compares and contrasts with more advanced home control systems:
At its heart, Digital Life is a security system. Basic packages include things like door and window sensors, glass breakage sensors, surveillance cameras and an alarm system that sends alerts both to the homeowner’s smart phone and to a 24/7 monitoring service. While Digital Life doesn’t require the extensive programming and sometimes complicated installation of professional automation systems, this isn’t exactly a DIY project either. The devices must be professionally installed and configured to the main hub in the house. The user can then create automation events (called “programs” in AT&T’s parlance) with a computer interface or with a tablet or smart phone.
It’s not nearly as comprehensive as what you’d find from a company like AMX, Crestron, Control4, Savant or Elan (and many others), but it appears to be a good solution for people who just need the basics, but don’t want to go the DIY route with a system such as the Lowes Iris. Installation is a reasonable $149, which covers the system hub and whatever devices are in the package the user selects. Monitoring costs start at $30/month and top out at $65/month, depending on what devices are included in the monitoring.
Head over to the source link for a very in-depth exploration of the Digital Life-equipped home, complete with details on HVAC management, lighting control, wireless door lock integration, as well as a good overview of the things that Digital Life can’t handle, like deep AV integration and more advanced programming.