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Energy Management

Will Verizon Win the Home Automation Wars?

Exclusive details of Verizon's home monitoring system, and how it will compete with Comcast, AT&T, ADT and others; 4G LTE ultimately will give Verizon an edge.


Verizon Home Monitoring and Control will roll with a handful of devices including Wi-Fi cameras and Z-Wave switches, thermostats and door locks, as demonstrated at CES 2011. Alas, it lacks integration with security. Will that be a deal breaker?

Verizon (VZ) is getting into the home automation business, challenging Comcast (Xfinity), AT&T, ADT and other mass-market providers in the coming year. Will it prevail?

During the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this month, we got a close look at Verizon’s products that allow users to remotely access and control their lighting, thermostats, surveillance cameras and a small array of Z-Wave wireless devices such as motorized door locks.

The company's solution, called Verizon Home Monitoring and Control is based technology from 4Home, a platform developer recently acquired by Motorola.

Although Verizon is the first major provider to employ the 4Home platform, the telco's offering is not unlike the ones planned by competitors in the security, cable and broadband industries (details below), all of which hope to exploit their substantial customer base by tacking home control services onto their monthly bills.

The Verizon Home Management Solution

Verizon has a slick, if fairly limited home control offering (view the ecosystem) powered by Motorola’s 4Home platform. The service is hosted in the cloud, at Verizon’s own servers.

4G Will Change Home Control
Verizon shows how 4G-enabled cars, cameras and tele-health offer compelling new apps for home automation. (Read)
During CES 2011, the company showed the technology delivered to the home via an Actiontec Gateway, the SG100. The small plug-in module connects to the home network via Ethernet, and communicates with smart devices via on-board Z-Wave (low-rate) and Wi-Fi (high-rate) wireless technologies.

At launch, Verizon's system will integrate with a handful of Z-Wave devices, including Schlage door locks, Trane branded thermostats (made by RCS Technology) and a couple of lighting and appliance modules. (In theory, all Z-Wave devices should interoperate, but in reality that is not always the case.)

As for Wi-Fi onboard the Actiontec gateway, it is expressly for communicating with Verizon-branded wireless cameras OEMed by Sercomm, which also makes the cameras for many of 4Home’s (potential) competitors including iControl, uControl, Xanboo and Schlage.

Verizon's user interface is nice, just like its competitors'. At CES, the telecom/broadband provider showed an app running on an Android phone, as well an over-the-top (OTT) interface for Verizon FiOS TV.

Energy Management

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Article Topics

News · Product News · Home Automation and Control · Control Systems · Security · Energy Management · Events · CES · Z-Wave · Adt · Verizon · 4home · Comcast · Schlage · At&t · Xanboo · Ucontrol · Icontrol · All topics

About the Author

Julie Jacobson, Co-Founder, EH Publishing / Editor-at-large, CE Pro
Julie Jacobson, recipient of the 2014 CEA TechHome Leadership Award, is co-founder of EH Publishing, producer of CE Pro, Electronic House, Commercial Integrator, Security Sales and other leading technology publications. She currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. She's a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player currently residing in Carlsbad, Calif. Follow her on Twitter @juliejacobson. [More by Julie Jacobson]

10 Comments (displayed in order by date/time)

Posted by 39 Cent Stamp  on  01/25  at  02:32 PM

Ha. When the cable/phone/satellite guys can get their single tiny small piece of the puzzle managed properly i will believe they can expand into home automation.

Right now? The cable guy cant even get cable working without 4 trips, 2 guys and me holding their hands.

Posted by Seth_J  on  01/26  at  01:46 PM

No kidding… we need to start documenting how often these idiots leave the job without finishing.

Cable guys are full of excuses… incompatible splitters, incorrect wiring (structured wiring? never heard of it), no TVs (even though they don’t need a TV to activate the box)... the list goes on and on and on.

I had a bad HDMI output on a box once. Told the client. She scheduled a call. Problem “solved” but there’s no sound or picture from the DVD player. Funny thing. The cable box is connected using component now. Scheduled another call. Which was canceled without calling anyone because they had an outage in the area and figured thats what the call was about.

Finally got onsite with another tech who insisted their box was fine and “your HDMI cable is bad and our boxes don’t output on HDMI.” So I switched it with another box onsite to prove the cable was good and it does output HDMI. Proven wrong they still have to come back out since he didn’t carry an HDMI box on his truck that day.

Good luck Verizon! You guys are winners!

Posted by Drug Induced Psychosis  on  01/27  at  10:05 AM

39 Cent, your monkey advice and monkey brain are so out of touch with reality it is almost fascinating (like watching a monkey crap in their hands a throw it at people in the zoo). 

There are millions of cable customers that are happy and satisfied with their digital cable, cable DVR’s and cable internet access.  You are like a broken record, always on the fringe throwing crap.  U will never evolve.  You comments lack merit and insight.

Posted by 39 Cent Stamp  on  01/28  at  12:35 AM

D I P as in Stick?

You sound like a miserable person. Your post had ZERO to do with this article. If i didnt know any better i would assume you were that wack job Ray Casey. But you cant be because he has some strange phobia with forum handles. He is an angry man like you but he has good reason. He fell for the life|ware BS and hes bitter because of it. You two would be good friends.

I actually deal with the companies listed in this article on a daily basis. I can promise you that many of them struggle with something as simple as terminating the cable that brings their services into the clients home. If you think otherwise then you are mistaken.

Now get off the net and get in bed.. you have a big boy day tomorrow. 5th grade can be challenging.

Posted by Mark Coxon  on  01/28  at  05:04 AM


If you had to bet on Verizon, Comcast, Time Warner, ADT or Steve Jobs to win something, who would you choose?

Mark C

Posted by Julie Jacobson  on  01/28  at  08:24 AM

While I’m pretty sure 39 Cent Stamp has something bigger than a monkey brain, I have to go with Drug Induced on this one.  Our industry loves to bash Comcast and any other service provider with “mass market” in their name, but there’s a reason they got to be in the mass market.

Still remains to be seen if they can install security and home automation, but I’m pretty sure that Z-Wave is more stable than HDMI.

Posted by 39 Cent Stamp  on  01/28  at  09:05 AM

The reason they got to be mass market is because there is no other choice. It has nothing to do with their ability to make customers happy. Its like saying Microsoft is popular because they have the best operating system.

DIPSticks post is a personal attack on me. I wish he-she had read the article and understood what he-she was responding to.

People may be happy with cable or satellite but what does that have to do with the installation of the service? In the link i posted above it took them 4 days to install cable. This is not a unique scenario. We literally have to stand over their shoulder and direct them. I had to go out and buy a modem and beg them to try it to get them to discover the problem they had on their end.

They do not have the ability to install even the most watered down appesque version of home automation. Have you guys seen an ADT installation?

This has nothing to do with Z-Wave. This is 100% about them not being able to hire/train/manage an installation team that can install it. They struggle to get their single wire brought in and distributed across the home.

Posted by weddellkw  on  01/28  at  10:39 AM

I’ve got to agree with 39 Cent Stamp…
Its not that people are really happy with their service provider, its just that they generally don’t have to think about them.  You get kicked in the teeth by an outrageous bill once every month, but generally, once the service is hooked up, its pretty painless.
Is that the standard for good service these days?

Posted by Massive mess  on  02/10  at  01:34 AM

I witness the incompetance of signal service providers every day.  The kids working for Comcast, DirecTV and ATT don’t have the first clue about what it takes to do our work.

They rarely show up on the day of the appointment.  They deliver ancient used gear that smells like an ashtray and is defective.  If they are left to hook up anything there is always a mess left for the experts to clean up.  I have worked everyday for the last two weeks cleaning up DirecTV messes for my customers and will drive 60 miles tomorrow to work on another one.

My customers hate them but what choice do they have with a massive monopoly.

Posted by goodroots  on  08/30  at  12:36 AM

...just off the top of my head…

1. Not my clientele anyway
2. Makes my well thought out and customized systems look better
3. I can take off my shoes in a client’s home
4. I can garauntee the same tech goes to the same client every time
5. I care AND have the authority to do something about it
6. I can make multiple homes in different places the same (I dont see Aspen, Montana, Bahamas, Maine etc on Fios’ List)
7. They can’t seem to keep even spare DVR’s on the truck
8. Z wave and Networks (after simply activating service) are far less forgiving than RF over cables
9. Those companies are too big to change with the rapid progress of these types of technologies.
10. What do you mean you can’t fish a wall?  Go in the attic?  Drive back to the shop to get something you forgot? Meet a deadline? Speak english?
11. You actually want the cable company to have access to your personal IP Camera? Um, you know they already monitor what you watch on TV, right? Just saying… IP Camera + IP Address + username & password = full video/audio access.
12. If I don’t pay my cable bill or switch services, they shut off my cable, so, what happens with my door lock? Light switches?

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