Verizon Opens Door To 'Smart Home'

Verizon Communications is launching a home monitoring and control service for $9.99 per month, which will let broadband customers turn their lights on and off, control their thermostats and unlock their front doors -- but the service for now doesn't provide security-response dispatch.

The telco's Home Monitoring and Control service will be available to all FiOS and DSL customers in its consumer footprint of 12 states and Washington, D.C.

Cable operators including Comcast and Time Warner Cable, as well as ADT, have higher-priced home-security services that provide similar home automation and control capabilities.

Verizon is considering adding security-monitoring capabilities as well. "The way we see it, there are a lot of value-add opportunities," Verizon spokesman Alberto Canal said. "This is very much a part of our push toward providing a borderless lifestyle, so many things are under consideration."

The Verizon "smart home" service -- announced at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show -- lets customers remotely access, control and monitor doors, thermostat controls and appliances well as view home-energy use in near-real time via smartphones, PCs, FiOS TV and in a future tablets.

"Making the smart home a reality is another way Verizon is breaking down barriers between ‘home' and ‘away' to support a borderless lifestyle," Verizon vice president of product development Eric Bruno said. "In addition, we're giving our customers the tools to live greener lives and provide valuable information essential to making decisions about their home-energy usage."

The service is $9.99 per month. Equipment packages begin at $69.99, for a home-monitoring kit that lets customers remotely turn on and off lights, and access networked cameras. A second energy-control kit features energy-monitoring devices including the Trane Z-Wave enabled thermostat control and adapters that control appliances plus a sensor placed on the circuit box to measure electricity use throughout the house.

Verizon offers a third package, the home monitoring and control kit, which provides both home- and energy-monitoring equipment including door locks to allow remote locking and unlocking of doors, cameras that can pan and tilt or be installed outdoors, plus window and door sensors to pair with light modules that allow the light to turn on when you open the door.

The telco is offering a self-install option for customers, and also will let customers choose to have the equipment professionally installed by local installers referred via InstallerNet for an additional fee.

Motorola Mobility, which acquired home-automation vendor 4Home last year, developed the platform. Verizon also has worked with hardware providers ActionTec, Aeon Labs, SerComm as well as Trane and Shlage, both businesses of Ingersoll Rand.

Verizon has posted a video of how one New Jersey family is using the Home Monitoring and Control service online.