October 13, 2011
| by Steven Castle
Telecom giant Verizon has launched its long-anticipated home connectivity and energy management solution, joining huge service providers ADT, Comcast/Xfinity, Alarm.com, Vivint and others in providing basic home control of web-based cameras, wireless thermostats, lights and appliance plug-in modules. Like the other providers, remote control via smartphones is also available.
Also like the other providers, Verizon’s Home Monitoring and Control system uses Z-Wave wireless mesh technology and will enable customers to turn down air conditioning or lock doors remotely, see what’s going on at home via networked cameras, and set and control lights, smart thermostats and appliances.
The service is now available to Verizon broadband customers for $9.99 per month, plus $70 to $220 for equipment kits required for three levels of service:
- The basic $70 Home Monitoring Kit includes a gateway device, one indoor camera, and one lighting module.
- A $170 Energy Control Kit includes the gateway, one smart wireless thermostat, one 110-volt appliance switch, an energy reader that connects to your electrical panel and one remote control.
- The $220 Home Monitoring and Control Kit includes the gateway device and one of everything in the other two kits.
Users can customize their set-ups by adding other cameras and modules, as well as digital wireless door locks and window and door sensors.
“Verizon is breaking down the barriers between ‘home’ and ‘away’ and supporting a borderless lifestyle with the introduction of our Home Monitoring and Control services,” said Eric Bruno, vice president of product development for Verizon. “With the help of Sigma’s Z-Wave technology, our broadband customers are now able to control their home’s energy usage and monitor their home environment regardless of whether they’re at home, in the office or on the road.”
The system appears to be powered by the 4Home solution that was acquired by Motorola last year. Systems from ADT and Comcast/Xfinity are powered by the iControl platform. (iControl merged with uControl last year).
The system can be operated using just a smartphone, a computer or through Verizon’s FiOS service on a TV. The gateway device will eventually enable Internet-based connections from Android or iOS tablets.
Verizon’s $9.99 per month subscription fee is the lowest among the big service providers, which typically charge about $30 and more for their services. Also unlike the other providers, Verizon appears more focused on energy management and control, by offering not only the wireless thermostat and lighting and appliance modules, but the free energy reader, which Verizon says is valued at $99.
It will be interesting to see how Verizon does with this rollout, as the other service provider rollouts focus on security with web cameras and remote connectivity, with energy management being only a piece of that.
Steven Castle is Electronic House's managing editor. he has been writing about consumer electronics, homes and energy efficiency topics for two decades. He is also the co-founder of GreenTech Advocates