O2 partners with AT&T to bring home management platform to UK


AT&T Digital Life platform will initially be trialled in London ahead of nationwide rollout later this year

O2 has partnered with AT&T to bring the US carrier’s Digital Life home management and automation platform to the UK.

The operator will offer its 25 million UK mobile customers the connected home service, which allows users to control connect products such as a smart thermostat or security cameras from their mobile, from this summer.

Home screen on the Digital Life app

It will initially roll out a trial in London ahead of offering the service across the rest of the UK. The move follows a collaboration between O2-parent Telefonica and AT&T announced last year to trial the service in Europe.

It means the UK is the first European market to offer Digital Life, which launched in the US last year.

O2 digital director David Plumb said: “Across a range of sectors, we’ve already seen technology evolve from analogue to digital to smart. But when it comes to our homes, the experience is mostly stuck in analogue.

“At O2 we are building an ecosystem that will deliver a complete smart home experience. By teaming up with the very best device, platform and service providers, we will be able to give people the smartest tech for their homes.”

Gurus and installation experts

The product will be on offer in O2 stores, with the operator’s Gurus on hand to explain the product to customers. O2 will also use installation experts to advise customers on how best to use the new technology.

AT&T will provide the software, but smart home hardware that uses the platform include the likes of tado, who make smart heating products.

O2’s smart-home platform will have two components — a hub which will be installed by engineers, and a smartphone app. Together, a customer will be able to control features including heating, security and automation.

AT&T president of Digital Life Kevin Peterson added: “O2’s interest after our trial with Telefonica shows that Digital Life’s platform is a great fit for European markets such as the UK.

“Digital Life’s platform is an end-to-end solution that pulls a variety of devices and capabilities into a single experience that allows consumers to see through the noise and manage the system through a single app.”

Carbon Monoxide Sensor that can be used with the Digital Life platform

O2 has not yet disclosed pricing, but in the US, the platform costs $39.99 a month (plus a one-time equipment fee of $49.99) for the basic smart security package. Or a Smart Security package that comes with outdoor camera, pushbutton door lock and touchscreen control for $54.99 a month (plus a one-time equipment fee of $149.99).

The most expensive package AT&T offers is a Premium package that costs $64.99 a month, plus a one-time equipment fee of $199.99.

Smart move

CCS Insights principal analyst Kester Mann claims the move into more connected home products is a smart one from O2.

He said: “Seeking to establish UK leadership in the connected home market is a sensible strategy for a pure-play mobile operator like O2 UK. It would allow some differentiation versus converged UK rivals now heavily pursuing multi-play strategies.

“Indeed, as others focus attention on bundling fixed-line and mobile services at point of sale during 2016, O2 could use its retail footprint to establish a major advantage in this new area. Network operators are under pressure to generate new sources of revenue as traditional telco services such as voice and SMS continue to contribute less to the top-line. This is especially relevant in the competitive UK market where margins are tight and prices low.”