Security Platforms/Tools

Verizon's Over-the-Top Home Control

NEW ORLEANS -- TelcoTV 2011 -- Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) intends to start selling its new home control and security product nationwide, and not just in the telco's DSL and FiOS footprint, sometime next year, company VP of Product Management Eric Bruno said Wednesday. Bruno's keynote is available right here:

Bruno, who amplified the importance of providing a consistent user interface across device types, brought up the home control plan at the end, noting that Verizon made a business decision to make its recently launched, $9.95-per-month (plus equipment costs) home control offering "broadband agnostic." (See Verizon Expands Home-Monitoring Service Plans, Verizon Unveils Home Monitoring Service and New Service Part of Verizon's National Brand Play.)

The decision to take the service, which lets users control everything from lighting, temperature and energy consumption to home security and door locks, will expand Verizon's national brand strategy while also upping the competitive ante with traditional home security firms like ADT as well as cable MSOs that have launched similar types of products, including Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) and Suddenlink Communications . (See Comcast Unlocks Home Security Service and Verizon Devising Uber Strategy for Home Services.)

Bruno noted that Verizon paid special attention to make the interface for that service consistent whether it was accessed via a PC, smartphone, tablet or television. Verizon's applying that same strategy as it extends FiOS TV services to an array of new devices, including the Xbox 360. (See Comcast, Verizon Connect With the Xbox 360.)

"The viewing experience is going to fragment" as traditional video services essentially become "just an other app" on these connected devices, he said. While providing a quality video experience on those devices using networks that may be out of the control of Verizon presents one challenge, "the real risk" is not providing a consistent user interface, Bruno stressed.

"People like to stick to what they know," he added, showing off screenshots of how Verizon is accomplishing this with its Interactive Media Guide (IMG), and noting that his company is trying to live up to an approach of "learn one screen and you learn them all."

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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