Looks like home automation may finally be taking baby steps towards the mainstream -- Verizon's just announced that it'll be demoing that long-rumored Home Monitoring and Control system at CES 2011, with a planned beta rollout in New Jersey to follow. The system will allow users to remotely view security cameras, lock doors, and control lights, thermostats, and appliances through their smartphones or FiOS TV boxes -- the same capabilities most other automation systems offer, but with the added benefit of being integrated and installed by Verizon. The pilot homes in Jersey will receive an energy reader, smart appliance switches and thermostats, door and window locks, a power strip, motion sensors, an indoor pan-and-tilt camera, and a fixed indoor / outdoor camera when the system launches next month, but Verizon says that's just the beginning. We're told the system will use Z-Wave wireless control units and WiFi security cameras, so we're guessing there'll be a central box that integrates everything -- and we've got a feeling this whole thing is based on 4Home (pictured above), which was just acquired by Motorola Mobility. We'll find out more at CES -- stay tuned.
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New Verizon Home Monitoring and Control Service Will Make the Concept of the 'Connected Home' a Reality

Service Being Tested in New Jersey, Offers Home Owners Anytime, Anywhere Access to Lights, Thermostats, Appliances and Monitoring Systems, via Smartphones, Computers and FiOS TV

BASKING RIDGE, N.J. – You're miles from home when you realize that you've forgotten to lock the front door. With a new, fully integrated and customizable home monitoring and control service developed by Verizon, you won't have to panic and frantically call a friend or neighbor. The service, now in the trial phase and expected to be available in the first half of 2011, will enable customers to lock doors remotely; see what's going on at home via networked cameras; and set, adjust and control lights, smart thermostats and appliances -- all by using a smartphone or a computer or through FiOS TV.

Verizon will showcase the new service, Home Monitoring and Control, and many other new technologies, at the 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, from Jan. 6-9. Verizon's demo will be available in the press room and blogger lounge, located in the South Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center and will be among the demonstrations in Verizon's booth (LVCC, South Hall #35215) on the show floor.

(NOTE: To take a video tour of Verizon's home monitoring and control offering, visit www.XXXXXX.)

Beginning in January, a pilot program for the new service will be conducted in New Jersey. The homes selected for the program will be outfitted with an energy reader, smart appliance switches and thermostats, a smart power strip, a smart door and window locks, motion sensors, an advanced pan-and-tilt camera, and a fixed indoor and outdoor camera.

"What we'll be testing in these homes is just the beginning," said Eric Bruno, vice president of product management for Verizon. "We're giving customers a remote control for their homes that they can use to cut CO2 emissions and their energy bills and give them anytime, anywhere access and control of their homes. The concept of the connected home has been discussed for many years, and now Verizon's high-IQ networks are making that concept a reality by converting customers' homes into bandwidth-rich ecosystems that enable a wide variety of customizable options."

High-IQ Networks Like FiOS Are Platforms for Innovation

Since launching FiOS, Verizon has pushed the boundaries of TV and broadband speed by introducing innovations that have spurred the industry's evolution.

Verizon is the only major provider to offer ultra-high-speed symmetrical Internet service to customers, and earlier this year the company began offering 150/35 megabits per second Internet service, the fastest speeds available on a mass scale. Consumers can choose from various FiOS Internet downstream and upstream options including 15/5 Mbps, 25/25 Mbps, 35/35 Mbps and 50/20 Mbps.

Verizon also offers a Media Manager, available to all HD customers, that enables them to access PC-based personal photos, videos and music – as well as search and enjoy online videos from YouTube, blip.tv and Dailymotion. DVR customers can remotely access their DVRs from any broadband connection or Internet-enabled phone. And in November, Verizon launched Flex View, a new feature that allows customers to take their video content with them and purchase, rent or watch videos on TV, online and on select mobile devices.

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Verizon to demo Home Monitoring and Control system at CES, launch pilot in Jersey next month