Verizon has dropped its Home Monitoring and Control solution two years after launching the DIY home security and automation service. Of all the new mass-market smart home providers – ADT Pulse, Comcast/Xfinity, AT&T Digital Life, Time Warner Cable, Cox and more – Verizon was the only one to launch as a DIY platform that was not attached to a professional security monitoring contract.
“We are revisiting the service to more accurately reflect our vision for the connected home,” Verizon spokesperson Jarryd Gonzales tells CE Pro. “As technology and consumer expectations evolve, so must our offerings.”
The Verizon home-control Web site went dark several months ago, and while customers can no longer shop for additional products and services, Verizon will “continue to provide service and support for current Home Monitoring customers,” Gonzales says.
Platform Provider 4Home Dissolves
While Verizon would not provide more insights into the cancellation of its program at this time, one of the reasons for its demise might have been the dissolution of 4Home, the platform provider for the initiative.
We are revisiting the service to more accurately reflect our vision for the connected home — Jarryd Gonzales
4Home was acquired by Motorola Mobility in 2010, which was in turn sold to Google in 2012. Shortly thereafter, the Motorola Home division that included 4Home was sold to Arris, a cable infrastructure giant.
Last year, Arris dissolved the 4Home business, we are told, eliminating most if not the entire team.
Oddly, at CES in January 2013, Verizon was demonstrating the Lowe’s Iris DIY home control solution at its booth, indicating that it might sell the solution in its stores. That apparently hasn’t happened. What Else Went Wrong?
Besides the collapse of 4Home, Verizon had some other challenges with its program.
First, it was attempting to become the first successful provider of a DIY security/automation system that had a monthly fee separate from a professionally monitored security system.
At that time, providers could (and do) charge premiums of $10 or more for automation and self-monitored security as an attachment to professional monitoring, but not as a standalone service.
Since its launch, however, other DIY programs have emerged, such as Lowe’s Iris, which provides a similar service at a similar price. Schlage’s Nexia service – again, very similar – also is showing some signs of life among homebuilders. And recently, Comcast/Xfinity, using the new Touchstone platform from iControl, launched a me-too DIY solution to complement its existing pro-installed and -monitored security/automation system.
Of all of the services, Verizon has been perhaps the least media-savvy, losing out on much of the buzz that has elevated its competitors.
There was little or no outreach to the press and the company declined to provide products and service for review … at a time when so many press-worthy DIY home automation products were hitting the market.
The big question, though, remains: Will consumers spend $10 per month for a standalone do-it-yourself system that lets them remotely monitor cameras, adjust the thermostats, arm the security system or unlock the doors?
To be sure, odds are stronger today than they were when Motorola/Arris/Verizon probably started to wind down their DIY offerings last year, but only time will tell.
According to FierceCable, a new Verizon patent application describes an “advertisement platform” for delivering such services as subscriber discounts on home automation services, free PPV movies and HBO trial subscriptions in exchange for their accepting advertisements on their mobile devices.
Elsewhere, Columbus Business First describes a new Verizon Wireless “Smart Store” concept that “changes the shopping experience from a product-driven model to a lifestyle-driven design.”
The store is divided into zones: Have Fun, for game players and gadget fiends; Amplify It, for the music and entertainment user; Get Fit, for health-related applications and accessories; and Home and on the Go, for managing home automation. ... In the For the Home section, there is a built-to-scale house with which shoppers can interact.
“You can open the doors, turn on the lights, turn on the heat,” [Jay] Highland [of store designer Chute Gerdeman] said.
So it does appear that Verizon will be back in the home automation business. We just don’t know what shape it will take.