Verizon Quietly Moves Home Automation Customers to Nexia; Deploys Quantum Z-Wave Router
Having dropped its Home Monitoring & Control service last year, Verizon moves former users to Nexia Home Intelligence DIY home automation platform; seeds IoT market with Greenwave-powered Quantum Z-Wave and ZigBee router.
After a short run, Verizon discontinued that DIY smart-home offering in 2013, and has quietly shifted former customers to Nexia Home Intelligence at the same $9.99 monthly price that Verizon was charging.
Apparently, even Verizon customer service representatives didn’t know much about the changeover, according to comments in a Verizon forum on the subject.
“Dukestane” posted, “Called Verizon to cancel th HMC and the rep did not know the service was being phased out. She wanted to know if I was unhappy with the service.”
So far, the response to the Nexia transition has been mostly positive, judging by the forum comments. Tech support has been responsive and the cameras are able to output higher resolutions than previously, users are saying.
RELATED: Can Verizon Sell Home Control?
Initially, Verizon-turned-Nexia customers complained about issues with the onboard camera sensor, and the inability to capture video in the moments before an alarm event occurs (via continuous recording). They didn’t like the limited “freedom in programming my automations and modes.” They also complained about problems with the very basic Minimote Z-Wave remote.
But Nexia seems to be much more responsive to consumers than Verizon was. “Shaenn,” for example, posted “Talked to Nexia this morning. They are working on the Minimote issue and the will be addressing the motion detect area for the outdoor cameras.”
Dukestane commented, “Nexia seems to respond much quicker than Verizon, I also like the android and ipod apps better than Verizons. So far so good. I have zero complaints.”
And this from “rew1000”:
As others noted video quality and speed are greatly improved over Verizon HM&C. The cameras can be set to high quality and HD modes. The Android app is a great improvement over the Verizon app.
All-in-all a positive switchover experience. It did take several hours to convert and as others have mentioned. I have been tweaking the automations and settings during the following week.
I highly recommend Nexia.
Then again, while there are four pages of comments in the Verizon/Nexia forum, only five users have participated. All of them appear to be tech-savvy.
Transition to Nexia Not Exactly Smooth
Nexia is accustomed to working with a high volume of customers. The group is part of Ingersoll Rand (IR), which owns HVAC giant Trane and door-lock manufacturer Schlage (until spinning off Schlage last year to Allegion). Nexia was formed in 2012 after the lock company had little success selling its own $8.99/month SchlageLink home automation service which centered around a Z-Wave lock. IR repositioned the service as a way to sell both thermostats and locks.
Nexia has not really thrived in the direct-to-consumer model, but the company has found success in offering products and services to home builders, generally with the understanding that builders would provide Nexia to all homes in their new communities, and the hope that home buyers would actually pay for the monthly service.
In the case of Verizon, the telco provides customers with a new Z-Wave gateway, the Nexia Bridge, free of charge to replace Verizon’s original hub. Users get 30 days of service for free, but apparently Nexia will extend the trial period when badgered by customers.
Importantly, Verizon gave Nexia the keys to HM&C’s Sercomm security cameras, enabling them to work with the replacement service. Without these keys – which evidently are not available to anyone else – any indoor and outdoor surveillance cameras purchased from Verizon are useless.
As shared many times over in the HM&C forums, the locked-down cameras have been a major issue with customers.
Verizon, it appears, took well over a year to launch a transition plan for HM&C customers, who were not at all happy to learn in 2013 that their systems would no longer be supported, and that compatible products could no longer be purchased (Verizon did not support any third-party Z-Wave devices except for its own).
It probably doesn’t matter. We don’t believe Verizon ever got much traction among subscribers, partly because (as I have speculated) it was an all-DIY system and it wasn’t attached to a professional security monitoring service.
Competitors such as Comcast (Xfinity Home), AT&T (Digital Life) and ADT (Pulse) have fared better with their professionally installed, professionally monitored systems. Xfinity has about 500,000 subscribers. ADT has 1.2 million. AT&T has a few hundred thousand.
What’s Next for Verizon Home Automation?
In 2013, it seemed like Verizon might switch from its existing 4Home platform (dissolved in 2013) to Lowe’s Iris, which was demonstrated at the Verizon booth in January 2013 (as an illustration of Verizon’s LTE technology). That never happened, and it probably won’t ever.
Lowe’s is expected to switch platforms away from the England-based one-hit wonder Alertme, which was acquired earlier this year by British Gas for $100 million.
What Verizon has done, though, is deployed a bunch of FiOS Quantum routers with Z-Wave and ZigBee automation capabilities, co-developed with Greenwave Systems. Greenwave, by the way, includes Jim Hunter and a few other IoT veterans from the old 4Home business.
At a recent conference, Ohad Zeira, newly appointed director, IoT and Connected Home for Verizon, told me the company wasn’t ready to talk about its smart-home plans yet (but assured me CE Pro would be the first to know!).
Will Greenwave build out a back end for Verizon? Will Verizon stick with Nexia, which would harken a major new direction for the Ingersoll Rand group? Will the telco adopt a SHaaS (smart home as a service) platform from Icontrol, like most of the cable companies are doing? Will it go with Samsung’s SmartThings (possibly) or Wink (less likely)? Will the telco this time around go with a professionally installed solution with monitored security?
And when will this thing finally launch?
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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. Email Julie at [email protected]
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