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Verizon hits primetime with smart home

Wed, 10/12/2011 - 9:45am
Brian Santo

Verizon is now commercializing the smart home service it has been testing all this year. Verizon broadband customers will be able to control and monitor a variety of systems in their homes.

Control and monitoring requires a gateway that communicates with the devices being controlled using low-power Z-Wave communications. Control commands can also be initiated using a smartphone, a computer or through FiOS TV.

Devices available include indoor and outdoor cameras, door locks, lighting control modules, door and window sensors, thermostats, and energy consumption readers. Customers will be able to lock/unlock doors, turn lights on/off, set thermostats and monitor their energy usage.

Devices can be purchased individually, but Verizon has also bundled a set of "kits" for different home systems. They range from a bundle that includes the gateway, a camera and a light monitor for $69.99 to a larger set dedicated to home monitoring and control that includes a thermostat, an indoor camera, a light module, a general appliance switch and an energy reader that goes for $219.99.

The service will also require a $9.99 monthly charge added to the monthly broadband fee.

It is not clear who has manufactured all of the equipment. The announcement was made not by Verizon, but by Sigma Designs, a key promoter of Z-Wave. Sigma Designs was unable to respond to calls before press time. The company notes that Z-Wave-certified products are available from many manufacturers, including D-Link and Actiontec.

Sigma Designs said the gateway device will eventually enable Internet-based connections from Android or iOS tablets.

"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."

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