Verizon Shelves Home Monitoring & Control Service

Verizon Communications confirmed reports that it stopped taking new orders for its Home Monitoring and Control service last fall, a decision that came about two years after the telco launched it.

Verizon’s pull-back, expected to be temporary, comes as several other service providers develop and launch home security and automation products designed to stoke new revenue growth in a fragmented yet still growing market led by ADT.

“We’re revisiting the service to more accurately reflect our vision for the connected home,” a Verizon spokesman said in a statement. “As technology and consumer expectations evolve so must our offerings. In the meantime, we continue to provide service and support for current Home Monitoring customers.”

Verizon declined to say how many customers are currently on the service, but noted that it stopped adding new home security and automation subscribers last October, confirming a report by FierceCable.

Verizon developed its smart home service platform in tandem with 4Home, a startup acquired in December 2010 by Motorola Mobility that also counted Verizon as an investor. Arris, which acquired the Motorola Home division from Google last April, dissolved the 4Home platform last year, according to CEPro. Arris, however, told Multichannel News that the 4Home solution is now part of the company's Cloud portfolio of software products, which is primarily focused on enabling TV Everywhere deployments by Arris's service provider customers.

"We continue to provide support to existing 4Home customers, while our primary focus and strategy is on the deployment of TV Everywhere capabilities with our service provider customers," an Arris spokeswoman said via email.

Verizon launched the service in October 2011, selling it for $9.99 per month alongside equipment packages (basic home monitoring, energy control and a third package that combined components of the first two) starting at $69.99. Verizon offered do-it-yourself and professional installation options.

Verizon will be stepping aside temporarily as others push ahead. AT&T, for example, has teamed with Cisco Systems for a Digital Life product that the telco had rolled out to at least 58 U.S. markets by the end of 2013. Several cable operators, including Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications, Rogers Communications, have developed and deployed home security and automation services in tandem with iControl, a firm that has recently opened up its platform to app developers and third-party hardware suppliers.

Among more recent moves in the home security sector, DirecTV acquired Langhorne, Pa.-based LifeShield Security last June, announcing that it intended to start marketing home security and automation services based on LifeShield’s platform to new customers by the first quarter of 2014.

About 20% of U.S. homes currently use a home security service, led by ADT’s 28% share of the market, ISI Group said in a recent report. ISI  estimated that Comcast, TWC, AT&T and Verizon could generate about $3.5 billion from home security/automation services if they could achieve a 5% service penetration rate over a five-year period.