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Verizon debuts home security offering at CES

Verizon debuts home security offering at CES Industry insiders say security companies should take note

LAS VEGAS—Verizon, which has had a stealth presence at recent security shows, this week launched its new home security offering at the Consumer Electronics Show here.

Verizon Home Monitoring and Control will allow end users to bundle together different services like phone, Internet, cable, home automation and security features like motion detectors, remote access control from Schlage and surveillance cameras. The solution has no a professional monitoring component. Verizon and SerComm Corporation—a manufacturer of IP camera, broadband and wireless networking equipment—began demonstrating the solution at Verizon's booth the day before CES opened.

Should traditional security monitoring companies start worrying? Or is there opportunity here for partnerships? Some say it could go either way.

“The industry says past history has proved that these companies have failed miserably; however, past history is no guarantee of future performance,” ESX chairman George DeMarco told Security Systems News in an email interview. “Think about this: Verizon has 93 million customers nationwide. This number is extremely compelling as they develop their go-to-market strategy and uncover their execution results,” he said. “This is where I offer words of caution: Be careful, be very careful. At some point, they will get it right and many alarm dealers and integrators will simply say, 'What the heck happened?'”

CSAA Board of Directors member Joe Miskulin agrees the situation warrants attention. “It will be interesting to see how Verizon plans to service this offering, since the Bell Companies looked at this a dozen years ago and decided that it was not a good business move for them,” Miskulin said. “If Verizon is planning to touch their massive customer base, they will probably partner up with members of the security industry rather than build their own service teams. On the other hand, there is the potential for some customers leaving their current alarm monitoring companies in order to save money on a bundled service, much like some companies are doing with TV satellite, phone service and internet services.”

Verizon said it's intent is to have the solution be a do-it-yourself install, but will partner where appropriate.

"We want to service everyone, from the do-it-yourselfer to those who would like the goodies installed," said Verizon director of media relations Alberto Canal, who is currently at the CES show. "We will recommend local installers for folks in the latter camp ... I think there are a lot of opportunities with a network like ours. Security becomes one of many potential opportunities."

Why has Verizon decided to move into the home automation/security space?

“A convergence of factors makes this the right time. First, it's about homes having high bandwidth, like Verizon's 100 percent fiber-optics running directly into customers' homes delivering incredible and consistent speed,” Canal said. “Second, Verizon Online is able to deliver a customizable, user-friendly, unified control panel that gives customers the same convenience and abilities whether they're using their laptop, smartphone, tablet or FiOS remote.”

Verizon this month will begin its New Jersey-based pilot program for the new service. Trial homes will be outfitted with an energy reader, smart appliance switches and thermostats, a smart power strip, smart door and window locks, motion sensors, an advanced pan-and-tilt camera, and a fixed indoor and outdoor camera.

Comcast last year launched a similar home monitoring and security solution called Xfinity, which is now in iControl's portfolio, and AT&T launched a remote home monitoring solution in partnership with Xanboo in 2006. C.O.P.S. was brought in as a monitoring partner in 2008. Rogers Communications, a Canadian telco, also released a similar offering in November 2010.

CES takes place from Jan. 6-9 at the Las Vegas Convention Center/Las Vegas Hilton and The Venetian.

Security Systems News continues to report on this story.


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