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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?
Julie Jacobson · January 25, 2011

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.

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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.

  About the Author

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 julie.jacobson@emeraldexpo.com

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  Article Topics

Security · News · 4home · ADT · AT&T · Comcast · iControl · Schlage · All Topics
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