Fool burglars with Verizon's smart-home system

Verizon's Home Monitoring and Control system can adjust your lighting, heating and security camera settings while you're on the road.

Tim Hornyak
Crave freelancer Tim Hornyak is the author of "Loving the Machine: The Art and Science of Japanese Robots." He has been writing about Japanese culture and technology for a decade. E-mail Tim.
Tim Hornyak

Verizon's Home Control system lets you work home settings from afar, including devices like a thermostat (far left) and Web camera (top right). Tim Hornyak/CNET

LAS VEGAS--Did you lock the door before heading out? If you hate going back to check, Verizon's Home Monitoring and Control system gives you control over lighting, heating, door locks, and Web cameras. You might even fool a few burglars into thinking you're home.

The company has just started testing the smart-home system, which makes use of its Fios fiber-optic network, in New Jersey and plans to roll it out in the first half of this year.

At the CES demo (see vid below), the system was very easy to use. Booth lights, thermostats, and door looks could be adjusted with a single platform at the click of a laptop mouse, Fios TV, tablet, or smartphone (see the promo vid here). The real-time response was pretty quick, but there were occasional lags.

The system also allows users to track energy consumption at home, and access electronic devices, such as motion sensors, linked to the home network. Verizon is billing the system as an energy saver, like Microsoft's Hohm, and Google's PowerMeter.

I think it would be perfect for spying on babysitters, or freaking guests out by making the lights go crazy--heck, you could turn your home into a haunted house.

Watch this: CES: Verizon demos home-monitoring system