LAS VEGAS – Xfinity wants to be at the center of your smart home and is using its xFi platform to that—along with voice control—simple for home automation newbies. The company showed off its plans during CES 2018 in Las Vegas.
The company is partnering with smart home device makers August, Carrier, Chamberlain, Ecobee, GE, Honeywell, Kwikset, Nest, Philips Hue, Singled, Tile, and Zen to start. More companies will be on board soon.
Xfinity is forgoing Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and Apple Siri support in favor of its own voice control system. Their voice assistant focuses only on actions for related Xfinity services which should give users better accuracy, although it limits the types of actions you can request.
Turning on lights and setting scenes is possible with Xfinity’s voice system; asking for a weather forecast in a specific city is not. That tradeoff has a benefit because it lets the voice system better understand what users mean without forcing them to learn the plaform’s syntax.
Xfinity Senior Vice President and General Manager for Communications, Data and Mobility Services Eric Scaefer told The Mac Observer the voice control system’s focused control area lets it understand what users mean as opposed to converting voice to text and acting on that. “It’s about understanding intent,” he said.
Expanding connected home support seems like a natural move for Xfinity because it’s already the cable and phone service provider for millions of people. The company is already in subscriber’s homes, and an all-in-one solution is appealing to customers.
The service also overcomes a big barrier for many people interested in getting in to home automation: where to start. Customers don’t need multiple apps and third-party services to link together all of their smart home devices because everything from supported product partners just works.
Xfinity says it’s rolling out its integrated home automation services with voice control to internet customers in the first half of 2018.