In May 2003, SkyNetGlobal launched W Home, a proprietary Smart Home system for apartment dwellers.
W Home uses a combination or Ethernet, WiFi and power line technologies to deliver services to apartments. W Home is the first company in Australia to use power line technology to deliver broadband Internet into homes. W Home turns every power socket in the apartment into a connection point to access W Broadband service, eliminating the need for any wiring.
Once W Home is installed tenants can use the features of a Smart Home without the need of additional wiring or the upgrade of existing infrastructure. W Home services will include wireless “WiFi” connectivity, broadband, IP Telephony and home networking, security and automation.
W home does not required capital investment from the apartment owner, developer or the tenant as all capital investment is borne by W Home. This is possible because W Home’s makes its return from services provided to tenants rather than selling technology and hardware.
It makes sense for W Home because its costs of installation per building are significantly lower that traditional Smart Home concepts due to its proprietary design, which incorporates the concept of delivering what is, required today rather than tomorrow. W Home provides the technology platform that allows features such as home automation to be “switched on” when required by the tenant rather the owners paying for something upfront, that may never be used.
W Home’s own research indicates that there are 200,000 apartments in Australia that falls into its target profile and it plans to hit 5% market share within 2 years. To provide coverage to 10,000 apartments, W Home would need to sign approximately 100 with an average of 100 apartments each. W Home expects that it will achieve a per building subscriber take up rate of about 20%.
The W Home business will be operated by W Home Pty Limited, a new subsidiary of SkyNetGlobal limited. W Home will conduct a private equity placement of up to A$1 million to improve its balance sheet and provide further working capital. W Home at present is already cash flow positive and expects to be profitable within its first year of operation after depreciation and amortisation.
Target market; apartment buildings
Although W Home is ideal for new developments, it primarily targets existing buildings with at least
100 apartments due to its reliance on service revenue. Prior to deploying a building, W Home requires an initial take up 10 subscribers during its pre marketing phase. This would ensure that that every W Home enabled building is cash flow breakeven from day one.
W Home’s first building, Hordern Towers located in Sydney has 270 apartments and is already experiencing a take up rate of about 20% at 52 subscribers. Average revenue per user for the building is approximately $90 per month. The service has been live for about 6 months from installation date. All revenues at present are generate from the W Broadband service which offers unlimited broadband wireless internet from as $29.95 to $99.95 per month.
W Home expects that once IP telephony is offered, the average revenue per user is likely to increase as subscribers take advantage of up to 90% savings on telephone calls and no monthly line rental charges. Pricing of the IP Telephone service call “W Mobile” is based around cheap calling card rates with per minute rates from as low as 4 cents per minute to USA and UK.
The W Mobile service operates like a standard telephone call except that the call is made over a “WiFi” Wireless IP Phone that acts like a cordless phone. Instead of being carried through one of the networks owned by a long distance telephone provider the call is routed through the Internet on the international route, delivering massive savings.
Wireless connectivity, though WiFi will be a key driver for home automation adoption as major vendors incorporate WiFi into new appliances as already occurring with laptops. W Home could be the beginning of a new standard for smart homes and the next revolution in WiFi.
See also in Broadband section:
Australia – Wireless LANs (Wi Fi) Key Players
Australia – Wireless Broadband Wi Fi Overview and Analyses
Australia – Wireless Broadband in the CAN
Australia – Wireless Broadband Projects
Australia – Wireless Broadband – Overview and Analyses
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