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Smart Homes – Not Just a Dream Anymore

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Last month, Sigma Designs, the parent of Z-Wave wireless technology, which has quickly emerged to be a household name in the world of CMPs (Connected Media Platforms) has officially announced the launch of the eagerly awaited Verizon Home Monitoring and Control service. This marks the arrival of a revolution in connected home management technologies. With controls in hand, via laptop, PC or a PDA, the newly launched Verizon smart home agent has made it easier than ever to monitor your entire house. Since the gateway device which serves as a path between the house and the outside world is connected to the internet, one can perform several functions such as locking the doors, control electrical appliances and tap into a video feed of any room via networked cameras.

imageVerizon Communications Inc is a world leader in broadband and various types of wireless communication. Headquartered in NYC, Verizon is America’s “most trusted” service provider in its niche. It handles information over the best fiber optic network and has gained popularity for invention of the Z-wave, which has extensively been used in Verizon Home Monitoring and Control service.

“If you’re miles away from home when you realize that you’ve forgotten to lock the front door or turn off the lights, you now won’t have to panic,” stated Gabi Hilevitz, Vice President and GM of the Home Connectivity Group at Sigma Designs. “With this new, fully integrated and customizable Z-Wave-enabled home monitoring and control service developed by Verizon, consumers have the access and capabilities they’ve always wanted.”, he added. This new service launched by Verizon has of course, increased the safety of homes to a whole new level and at a monthly chargeable price,  the consumers get to control even the most interior circuits while keeping a track of different room temperatures, at the same time. Verizon has launched its revolutionary idea offering three different packages, which can be customized by users, depending upon their choices.

Eric Bruno, VP, product development (Verizon) was enthusiastic about the launch and as a true critic, he observed- “Verizon is breaking down the barriers between ‘home’ and ‘away’ and supporting a borderless lifestyle with the introduction of our Home Monitoring and Control services,”. He further added that the consumers would not find any difference between their home and the outside world once they checked out this amazing product.

Prominent features of the Verizon Home Monitoring and Control service include:

1. Effective energy management which includes the smart management of thermostats, lights and other electronic appliances. It also includes a sensor installed in the circuit which monitors the energy usage.

2. Remotely checking out the whole house through networked cameras over the whole house.

3. Sunlight management system, which incorporates the combined usage of doors and windows with sensors to maximize the amount of energy saved.

The whole system rests on z-wave, which allows the mingling of wireless technology into every possible aspect of day to day lives, that too at a really affordable cost. The technology has brought drastic changes to the world of security and home management systems.

Here are some more details from Verizon’s Press Release:

The Connected Home Delivered

Verizon first unveiled the automated home service earlier this year at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show, where the new service was a finalist for CNET Magazine’s Best of CES Award. For more information about the service, visit: http://shop.verizon.com/monitoringcontrol.

“In our U.S. consumer survey, home monitoring and home control services rank high in desirability among both broadband and mobile users,” said Vince Vittore, principal analyst for the Yankee Group.  “So high, in fact, that we believe both have become must-have services for all broadband and mobile providers. The fact that Verizon Home Monitoring and Control is built to seamlessly function on the customer’s computer, smartphone and FiOS TV screen, is a significant differentiating factor for this new digital home product.”

The service is offered for only $9.99 per month. Equipment packages begin at $69.99, and a variety of connected devices allow customers to customize to their individual needs while gaining savings over the retail prices.  Do-it-yourself customers are provided tutorials and information, while customers who prefer to have equipment professionally installed are referred to local installers via InstallerNet.

imageThe first package, a home monitoring kit, enables customers to remotely turn on and off lights, plus peer through networked cameras. The second package, an energy control kit, features energy-monitoring gadgets like the Trane Z wave-enabled thermostat control; special adapters that control appliances; plus a sensor placed on the circuit box to measure electricity use throughout the house. The third package, the home monitoring and control kit, offers both home- and energy-monitoring equipment.  There are additional devices like Schlage door locks to allow remote locking and unlocking of doors; advanced cameras that can pan and tilt or be installed outdoors; plus window and door sensors to pair with light modules that allow the lights to turn on when the door is opened. These and numerous other devices can be added to any of the packages, but the monthly service charge remains the same no matter what package a customer chooses or how many devices are added.

Verizon’s network technology is at the core of an ecosystem of innovation. To provide the new service, Verizon is partnering with hardware providers ActionTec, Aeon Labs and SerComm, as well as Trane and Schlage, both businesses of Ingersoll Rand. Application provider Motorola Mobility/4Home developed the platform that seamlessly connects various devices in the home to the cloud.

Smart Network Technology that Can Break Down Barriers

Verizon has aggressively invested in intelligent networks: the only all-fiber-optic wired network connected to homes and businesses on a mass scale, the nation’s fastest and most advanced 4G wireless network, and one of the largest and most robust global IP backbone networks. Incubators for innovation, the company’s networks provide next-generation technology and serve as the foundational elements for solutions to some of society’s most urgent problems such as energy efficiency and health care. The company is the only major provider to offer ultra-high-speed symmetrical Internet service, the fastest and most reliable Internet service (150/35 megabits per second) available to consumers on a mass scale.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, NASDAQ:VZ), headquartered in New York, is a global leader in delivering broadband and other wireless and wireline communications services to consumer, business, government and wholesale customers.  Verizon Wireless operates America’s most reliable wireless network, with more than 106 million total connections nationwide.  Verizon also provides converged communications, information and entertainment services over America’s most advanced fiber-optic network, and delivers integrated business solutions to customers in more than 150 countries, including all of the Fortune 500.  A Dow 30 company, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of nearly 196,000 and last year generated consolidated revenues of $106.6 billion.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.

With news like this, the reality of 2011 being the year of the Connected Home becoming a reality for  the average citizen becomes more obtainable!

Tom Abell

About the Author

Tom AbellPut simply, Tom loves technology! Having been involved in the IT world since leaving the US Navy Submarine Force in 1992, Tom has moved his way up to the top as an IT Systems Engineering. But having spent some time in the Home Automation industry early in his career, he’s never been able to shake his love for creating integrated Home Technology environments and has been running HTPCs and Windows Home Servers for years. With 17 years of IT Systems Engineering experience, Tom's recent OIF 08-09 deployment has rekindled his love for the Connected Home Industry and hence, the website. We hope you like the site, please share it with your friends and follow us on your favorite Social Networks! Read more about Tom on the "About Us" page.View all posts by Tom Abell

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