How 4G LTE Will Change Home Control
Verizon shows how 4G-enabled automotive systems, surveillance cameras and tele-health technology offer compelling new applications for traditional home automation.
There, Verizon demonstrated how its new Home Monitoring and Control system, powered by Motorola’s 4Home platform, might utilize a 4G backbone and integrate with 4G-embedded devices such as surveillance systems and home health solutions.
It is that 4G integration that could give Verizon an edge in mass-market home control – a market that is increasingly crowded by the likes of ADT today and Comcast, AT&T and other service providers in the near future.
After reviewing several of the competitive offerings, I found Verizon’s standard home management system – demonstrated in the CES press room—to be unexceptional, except for a nice TV interface available only through Verizon FiOS.
But the future for Verizon looks bright, thanks to the emergence of 4G LTE.
Home Control, 4G Style
As in the press room, Verizon demonstrated its Home Monitoring and Control system at the Verizon Mobile booth on the show floor.
The demonstration was similar to the one in the press room – showcasing remote home control of thermostats, door locks, lighting and wireless cameras – with one major exception: The demo at the Mobile booth used 4G instead of wired Internet as the system backbone.
As opposed to the real Actiontec SG100 Internet gateway used in the press room, the gateway on the show floor was a prototype device incorporating 4G LTE, Z-Wave and Wi-Fi wireless technologies. (The Wi-Fi is strictly for communicating with local Verizon-branded cameras.)
That gateway could be used to bring any number of new standalone LTE-embedded devices into the home. And there were plenty of them, including surveillance cameras from Sercomm.
Imagine placing a 4G camera in your very large yard or your lake house – where wireline broadband isn’t available—and using a single interface to monitor both the remote locations and the local spaces within your home.
Go one step further and integrate your 4G aftermarket OnStar system, also introduced at CES. Now you can view car data at home, via Verizon’s connected home interface – and vice versa—checking the 4G-connected home control system from your car dashboard.
In addition, standalone tele-health systems are now coming to market, bolstered by 4G’s exceptional performance. As demonstrated by BL Healthcare during CES, 4G enables high-def video conferencing between patients and their doctors—an important factor in developing intimacy between the parties, and a useful tool for examining medical conditions up close.
Those same tele-health stations can be used for social communications between grandma and her kids by way of a 4G-enabled Verizon home management system!
4G is still in its infancy and still expensive. As is the case with most newer technologies, we’ll probably see some interesting implementations at the higher end of home control, but in the next few years as adoption spreads, look out!
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Julie Jacobson is founding editor of CE Pro, the leading media brand for the home-technology channel. She has covered the smart-home industry since 1994, long before there was much of an Internet, let alone an Internet of things. Currently she studies, speaks, writes and rabble-rouses in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V, wellness-related technology, biophilic design, and the business of home technology. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, and earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a recipient of the annual CTA TechHome Leadership Award, and a CEDIA Fellows honoree. A washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player, Julie currently resides in San Antonio, Texas and sometimes St. Paul, Minn. Follow on Twitter: @juliejacobson Email Julie at email@example.com
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