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Verizon powers up smart-home services

Real-time management system for home automation to get started in Fios-based pilot project in New Jersey, with wider availability planned for mid-2011.


A smart-home automation system using Fios, Verizon's fiber-optic communications network, is about to be tested in some New Jersey homes, the company announced yesterday.

The management system, which Verizon simply refers to as Home Monitoring and Control, enables real-time access to view and make changes to a home's lighting, security cameras, locks, and thermostats, as well as appliances and consumer electronics devices connected to the home network.

The software application that offers the real-time monitoring and control can be accessed by smartphone, computer, or Fios TV.

Verizon will be demonstrating the smart-home system at the 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas early in January, and says the system should be widely available within the first half of 2011.

In the meantime, the company is looking to N.J. homes to test it out.

"The homes selected for the program will be outfitted with an energy reader, smart appliance switches and thermostats, a smart power strip, a smart door and window locks, motion sensors, an advanced pan-and-tilt camera, and a fixed indoor and outdoor camera," Verizon said in a statement.

Verizon has long been anticipating a possible foray into home automation, as it sought to expand what services could be offered using its existing high-speed Fios broadband network. But the telecommunications giant is not alone in attempting to be in on the early side of smart home services.

In July, Microsoft began offering Microsoft Hohm in conjunction with PowerCost Monitor for managing home electricity use. That same month GE began offering a smart-grid home-monitoring system that can also be tied to using a home electric vehicle (EV) charger. In 2009, Google began offering PowerMeter home-monitoring system to U.K. residents, and is now using the "white space" spectrum of the broadcast system left open by TV's switch to digital for smart-grid communications in Plumas-Sierra County, Calif.