Light Reading

Verizon Smart Home Service Inches Closer

Mari Silbey

Verizon appears to be on the verge of launching its anticipated new home monitoring service.

The operator seemed to have abandoned the sector when it shuttered its home monitoring service in 2013. However, details of its planned return were revealed in March when the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) shared details about a new Verizon home automation gateway called the FiOS G1100.

Now that gateway has appeared online on the Verizon FiOS website.

As reported on the Zatz Not Funny blog, one Verizon customer looked into upgrading his current router and found the FiOS Quantum Gateway Model G1100 listed as an option, albeit with a broken image link.

That model includes a module produced by Internet of Things (IoT) company Greenwave Systems (formerly GreenWave Reality) with support for the Zigbee and Z-Wave wireless protocols in addition to 802.11ac WiFi.

Verizon has not yet responded to questions about the product. Greenwave was able to confirm that Verizon is a customer, but could not offer any further details on the service provider's smart home plans.

Verizon certainly isn't the only operator pursuing home automation. Cable and telecom service providers are hot on using smart home applications to create a new revenue stream for their broadband networks. However, operators of both persuasions are up against major competitors in the retail, mobile, and utility sectors. And many consumers still have to be convinced that smart home services are worth paying for. (See IoT Alert: Samsung Snaps Up SmartThings and Betting on Smart Homes.)

Want to know more about the Internet of Things? Check out our dedicated IoT content channel here on Light Reading.

There are also a number of IoT platform providers on the scene making the competitive field even more interesting. Greenwave is one, and it has so far been successful by positioning itself as a platform that translates between different types of IoT software.

In a recent interview, Greenwave's new chief scientist and technology evangelist Jim Hunter shied away from calling the technology middleware. Instead, he chose to describe it with an analogy: Hunter noted that some people think of a technology platform as a shelf, but "what we're building at Greenwave is a fabric, and a fabric that's sewn into devices -- in and around and on things that we have in our lives."

Hunter also commented on where he thinks smart home application providers are going wrong today. He explained that while most companies are creating smart home apps that are designed to keep users immersed in an application, he doesn't think that's a useful long-term strategy.

"We would like to be able to offer the ability for you to use the calendars you already have to schedule these things [i.e. configuring your connected appliances]; to have these elements show up as being part of your normal daily life rather than, 'Oh I've gotta go into the scheduling app to do this' -- that's different than what you schedule the kids going to their rehearsal with."

The smart home industry isn't necessarily buying in to the Greenwave vision yet, but the company is nonetheless gaining significant traction with its technology. During the past year, the company increased revenues by 400% and raised its employee count by 65% to more than 200 people. In addition to Verizon, current clients include DirecTV Group Inc. (NYSE: DTV), European utility company E.ON, and TCP Lighting. (See GreenWave Crashes Smart Homes.)

— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading

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User Rank: Light Sabre
9/8/2014 | 2:36:56 PM
Re: Reach
Verizon is a communications service provider and with this they can "reach" out to a healthy population base. It doesn't matter whether Verizon is well suited for the Home Automation or not. What matters is whether people trust Verizon or not, which they do. This factor alone can push the home automation visions of Verizon sky-high.
User Rank: Light Sabre
9/8/2014 | 2:34:50 PM
Re: Home is where the things are
@Ray@LR: There is still room to wiggle about, and the term in marketing means making a whole lot of money and reaching out to a huge population base. Google simply has tabs on important to-be IOT sectors, sectors that would give most profits out of a small time frame, but if home automation has no fixed time stamp then Google's plans can backfire on them. 
User Rank: Light Sabre
9/2/2014 | 1:45:14 PM
What service can VZ pitch to customers in home automaton ?
User Rank: Blogger
9/2/2014 | 9:56:30 AM
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