Verizon Pulls Plug on Smart-Home Service
With the shopping page on its website already dismantled, Verizon has officially closed up shop on its Home Monitoring and Control service while it explores other smart-home options.
A Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) spokesperson confirmed press reports (Hat tip, FierceCable) that the company stopped accepting orders in October. In a prepared statement, the spokesperson said Verizon officials "are revisiting the service to more accurately reflect our vision for the connected home. As technology and consumer expectations evolve, so must our offerings."
Verizon did not disclose how many FiOS broadband subscribers signed up for the service. But the spokesperson said the company will "continue to provide service and support for current Home Monitoring customers."
Launched in October 2011 as an add-on service for FiOS customers, the Verizon smart-home service was powered by the 4Home platform. Originally a Verizon-funded startup company, 4Home was acquired by Motorola, which was then purchased by Google (Nasdaq: GOOG). Google sold off the Motorola Home business -- including the 4Home technology -- to Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS) last year.
Although all of the major US cable and telecom companies have invested heavily in smart home services, the 4Home platform has not appeared to gain much traction. Verizon was the only major provider to deploy the technology: AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) chose a Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) solution for its Digital Life services while such large cable operators as Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC), Cox Communications Inc. , and Rogers Communications Inc. (Toronto: RCI) have all deployed the iControl Networks Inc. platform. (See Betting on Smart Homes and Services Battle Shifts to the Home.)
At The Cable Show last June, Arris executive John Burke (who has since left the company) said there was continued interest in 4Home from service providers, but that operators had "yet to see a viable business model emerge" for home automation. Burke suggested that "perhaps it's an issue of prioritization." (See Arris Shows Off New Mojo.)
Despite the demise of Verizon's 4Home-powered service, look for the big telco to jump back into the smart-home market sooner rather than later. Although the market is still developing, many leading service providers and industry consultants view it as extremely promising, especially the home security segment.
— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading