Comcast is starting to receive calls from York customers who are choosing to take a little bit of home with them wherever they go.
The broadband provider last week launched Xfinity Home to the York service area, giving consumers an opportunity to control home security, light switches and thermostats from their cellphones.
"It provides consumers with convenience and control," said Bob Grove, Comcast spokesman.
Xfinity Home marries a traditional home alarm system with high-tech home energy controls, asking customers to navigate little more than a handheld computer.
Plans are available at either $29.95 or $39.95 per month, depending on the customer's needs, and subscribers can watch live streaming video of their homes through wireless cameras, control the temperatures of their homes, turn lights on or off and more.
For example, Grove said, "If your kids usually come home from school between 3 and 3:15 p.m. and let themselves in, you'll receive an email alert if the door doesn't open between those times."
Additionally, customers can monitor their dogs, turn off lights they may have left on and be alerted if there are intrusions or fire alarms.
It's also an opportunity to conserve energy, save money on utility bills and reduce home insurance costs.
"To what extent you save money depends on the size of the house, wattage of lights and many other variables," said Scott Surgeoner, First Energy spokesman. "But making sure (electricity) is off when nobody is using it can only help you save energy first and money second. The possibility to save money and energy exists very clearly."
Insurance: Homeowners and renters may also save on insurance costs by having a home security system. The savings can range from 5 percent to 20 percent, according to Adam Grove, an agent with Keller-Brown Insurance Services in Shrewsbury.
"The amount really varies depending on each client's situation, but there's usually some type of discount," he said.
Grove said future upgrades might include water sensors, remote controls for deadbolt locks and garage door openers.
"This technology really creates smart homes ... homes of the future," he said.
Launching: No customers in the York area have the service yet, but installations are scheduled. Though it was a new offering in the region last week, customers in nearby Harrisburg, Lancaster and Reading already have the service. Philadelphia, Scranton and Williamsport customers also have the service.
It will also be offered in State College May 1 and will launch in western Pennsylvania June 1.
-- Reach Candy Woodall at 505-5437 or firstname.lastname@example.org.