iControl Puts Apps on ‘FastTrack’

Weather Channel, TuneIn Among Third Parties to Develop Apps for Home Security/Automation Platform
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iControl will tap into the vast Android developer pool with the launch of the iControl FastTrack App Partner Program, an initiative that will open up app development for the Wi-Fi-connected touchscreen device that operates the company’s home security and automation system.

iControl will run the program, but the aim is to connect those developers with iControl’s cable MSO partners, which include Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications and Rogers Communications. iControl has already certified apps from a handful of third parties, including the Weather Channel, MapQuest, News Republic, TuneIn (online radio and music streaming), and Life360, a family locator and messaging app. The initial slate of third-party apps for the iControl platform is  free.

“We’re focused on being an open platform,” said Jason Domangue, iControl’s vice president of ecosystem development, noting that iControl’s software platform uses a customized version of the Android operating system.

He said the FastTrack program will help Android developers engage with iControl’s partners while boosting the value of the company’s touchscreen, a device that is currently made by Technicolor and SMC Networks.

iControl manages the app program, but certification testing is being outsourced to Intertek Group. Once an app passes the test and is deemed interoperable, it will be up to the MSO to launch it on their respective platforms. Interested parties can rent or purchase an app development kit that includes an unlocked iControl touchscreen. The certification test fees run about $400 to $500, Domangue said.

Time Warner Cable, which uses iControl to power its IntelligentHome service, has already added apps from MapQuest, News Republic, TuneIn and Life360, but currently uses a different weather app, a spokeswoman said.

Rogers, meanwhile, currently offers The Weather Channel & News Republic apps on its Smart home Monitoring Touchpad, and expects to add the TuneIn and MapQuest apps "very soon," a Rogers spokeswoman said.

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