AT&T’s smart home service, Digital Life, now has an Apple Watch app that allows customers to have home controls on their wrist. AT&T’s Digital Life is a wireless home automation system that provides a range of services including home security, remote access, water control and leak detection, and energy management. Until now, customers have been able to control features using their smartphone, PC, or tablet. The smart watch adds an additional layer of convenience, with timely notifications about your kid reaching home or an alert about a water leak being sent to your wrist. In addition, there are controls like remote door and garage access, thermostat, and lighting controls, all available on your wrist.
The smart watch control features are only available to premium security and automation customers, with subscription plans that cost $64.99 a month with a $199.99 upfront fee. As a part of the bundle, customers get a 24/7 home security service in addition to $1,700 worth of smart home devices including sensors, camera, door lock, thermostat, and a smart plug. AT&T is trying to position this as a premium service, possibly because the Apple Watch is considered a premium smart watch product. It will likely use smart watch control as a premium bundle marketing tool, hoping to drive sales and attract more tech-savvy customers.
Digital Life isn’t the first smart watch app for the connected home. A variety of smart home companies including Nest, Ecobee, Philips Hue, August, SmartThings, Lutron, Insteon, Alarm.com and many more can be found on the Apple Watch. Android Wear also has its own selection of smart home apps, although much fewer in number, including Nest and Wink. However, Digital Life is possibly the first smart watch app for connected home provided by a service provider like AT&T.
Apple has also been pushing its own smart home platform, HomeKit, which allows third-party smart home devices to talk to Apple devices. WatchOS 2, which brings native apps to the Apple Watch, is also expected to add trigger features for HomeKit, which can be activated from the watch. This means if you are wearing your Apple Watch, and aren’t carrying your iPhone, you can still unlock the door using geo-fencing and proximity detection features. Users can also use Siri on the watch to control features in the home, like lowering the temperature or turning on lights.
The Apple Watch is definitely is ahead of Android Wear, Pebble, or even Samsung and LG in terms of supporting smart home features. The highly anticipated launch of a new Apple TV on September 9, with universal voice search using Siri and a redesigned controller, should further Apple’s entry into the home. The Apple TV is also a perfect device to double as a smart home hub, integrated with HomeKit, Siri-based voice activation and search, with the TV becoming a home control dashboard in addition to the iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch.