Comcast and Alarm.com are in negotiations to buy Icontrol, a company that provides the back-end software behind several service providers’ home security offerings. Sources familiar with the deal say that IControl will sell some of its assets, including its Piper-all-in-one security product to Alarm.com. Another section of its business will go to Comcast.
Comcast and Alarm.com declined to comment. Bob Hagerty, the CEO of Icontrol, declined to comment on the sales talks, but said, “I’m always negotiating with Comcast.” Comcast is an Icontrol customer.
However, a sale makes sense. Icontrol was formed in 2004 to provide security and home automation services for companies like ADT and Comcast, and raised more than $90 million to do it. It won big customers at first, but it felt like the rush of DIY connected gadgets that started hitting the market in 2013 and 2014 caught it off guard. To adapt it announced a new product called Touchstone that consumers could self-install.
Then it doubled down by purchasing Blacksumac, the maker of the Piper an all-in-one security device, in 2014. But with Piper and Touchstone, Icontrol was competing against its service provider customers. That was confusing at best and irritating to them at worst. More importantly, as other companies turned to the smart home, they chose other providers or built their own platforms. ADT has thrown some of its business to a rival company, and when Comcast started working with individual IoT device companies, it chose to integrate those into its Xfinity Home service itself without using Icontrol.
Additionally, new offerings from competitors took customers away from Icontrol’s cable customers. Icontrol’s opportunities for growth seemed stagnant. In some ways, this is a story playing out across the smart home industry as it tries to find its footing. I expect to see more M&A this year.
Did you like this story? Want more? Sign up for Stacey Knows Things, a newsletter covering the internet of things, to get this essay and more.