Friday, July 15, 2011

Verizon, Bright House to Sell Home Automation Service

Verizon will soon start selling a Home Monitoring Control service, and Bright House will soon start selling a more premium home-monitoring and security service, staffed and connected to police and fire departments. "The more services they can get someone to sign up for, the stickier that customer is to them," said Bill Ablondi, director of home systems research for the Parks Associates market research firm. Having a phone company take over home automation makes some sense, he said, and people are more accustomed to gadgetry like live Internet video and cell phone applications for banking.

Rather than adopt any existing equipment on the market for home automation, Verizon plans to sell all the gear involved. For the most part, customers would install gear themselves, or Verizon will suggest contractors for items like electric circuit panel sensors. Bright House system will have company employees monitoring customer's homes as security firms do now, and the employees can call for police or fire rescue if needed.

Ablondi at Parks Associates said, in one sense, these companies are trying to do for home automation what Apple did for downloading music: Take a market that was highly complex and fragmented, simplify it dramatically and sell it as a service. Ablondi notes that other big communications companies are going in the same direction. Comcast, he said, now offers home security and monitoring services along the lines of a professional security firm. As for the potential revenue, Ablondi said just one of the facets of such systems, home energy management, could reach $1 billion industry wide per year by 2015.

From the article, "Verizon, Bright House to sell home automation service," by Richard Mullins

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