It's a point CEO Ivan Seidenberg is expected to emphasize when he takes the International CES stage Thursday. He'll be trying to showcase his company as a service innovator, not just in "4G" but in advanced home and global IP applications. Those applications are already on display at Verizon's first-ever large booth at CES.
That national market is why Verizon designed its Connected Home service, announced earlier this week, on a broadband platform that is technology agnostic, says Eric Bruno, vice president of product management for Verizon. He also points to Verizon's Flex View video service, a cloud-based offering that lets consumers download video to any type of viewing device, as an approach to video that will be taken nationally. (See Verizon Tests Home Monitoring and Verizon FiOS Gets Flexible)
"We have built what we expect to be a national service platform, so it is broadband-agnostic," Bruno says. "We are making a marketing decision to introduce it into our FiOS and [DSL] markets, because those are the places where we have the most control over our environment. But as you have seen with the Flex View video service we just launched, we have national service capability."
There isn't yet a commitment to taking Connected Home national, Bruno cautions. Verizon wants to learn from its New Jersey pilot how much consumer interest is out there, whether its pricing strategy is right and how much support and coddling consumers will need.
"What we knew when we designed this was [that going national] was a potential decision," he says. "We have a sister company with a national footprint. With LTE rolling out, it would be a little shortsighted if we didn't do this."
The initial Connected Home services, Home Monitoring and Control, are ones that consumers can easily understand and in which they can see immediate value, Bruno says. Consumers already pay for home security services, and they will be given tools to show how controlling energy-consuming appliances will save them money.
What Verizon can add, according to Bruno, is a unified control panel that takes input from multiple devices and is visible across multiple screens, including the TV, the PC and a smart phone. Consumers could then buy specific kits or peripheral devices such as cameras, lights for monitoring and sensors, and smart thermostats for home energy control, to customize their deployment. There are three initial basic kits, plus additional devices sold separately.
To help consumers install all this gear themselves, Verizon has created and made available "dozens if not hundreds of video snippets" -- 20- to 30- second how-to videos. There will also be third-party partners available to do installations for those not interested in the DIY approach, and beefed-up telephone support for all, Bruno promises.
Bruno says consumers would pay up front for the hardware involved, and Verizon will make a profit selling that. After that, the company expects to charge a monthly fee of less than US$10, no matter how many additional devices or services are used within the home.
For more about Verizon's strategy, check out these stories:
- CES Rumor: Verizon Connecting With Sling
- Verizon Gambles on Home Automation
- Verizon Had a Good Year
- VZW LTE: What's Coming Down the Fat Pipe?
- VZW CTO Moves Up to Verizon Communications
- Verizon's LTE Debut: Keep It Simple, Stupid
- Verizon 150-Meg Tier Usurps Cable's Speed Crown
- Verizon Unveils 3D VoD Service
- TelcoTV 2010: Verizon Takes a Flex View of the Cloud
— Carol Wilson, Chief Editor, Events, Light Reading