Home Entertainment & Automation Services in Matthews, NC.
Home Entertainment & Automation Services in Matthews, NC.
Home audio and Video Services in Matthews, NC.  TV installation, Surround Sound, Home Entertainment Systems
Verizon Drops DIY Security/Home Automation Initiative

Home AutomationVerizon Home Monitoring and Control, a $10/month home automation and security offering for DIYs, has been discontinued; platform partner 4Home by Motorola is gone.

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 Website 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.

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.

UPDATE 2/10: 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.

By Julie Jacobson


Custom Installation Services, LLC – Your Home Theater Tune Up Specialists Charlotte, NC and surrounding areas

Posted in Automation, Home Theater Setup, IP Cameras, lighting control, Low Voltage Contractors, Lutron Radio Ra II, News, Structured Wiring, technology | Leave a comment

Anatomy of a Central Vacuum System: 5 Easy Pieces

What goes into a central vacuum system? We lay out the five basic pieces: power unit, piping, inlets, hoses and brushes and accessories.

Do you hate dirt and hate to vacuum? A central vacuum system may be just what you need. Instead of lugging a canister around the home, the heavy lifting is done by a power unit located some place like the garage, where it can barely be heard.

A central vacuum system can also be a healthier and greener choice, as it won’t emit dirt particles into the air, as do some other vacuum systems.

For consumers who are new to the category, we provide the foundations of a central vacuum system.

 1. Power Unit

Drives the system and is usually mounted in the garage.

Bag vs. cyclonic (bagless) filtering: Bag-type systems require users to replace bags, but don’t require venting the system to the outdoors. Cyclonic units require no messy bags, but do need to be exhausted to the outdoors. Typical homes under 6,000 square feet can run off of a dedicated 20-amp, 120-volt circuit. Larger homes may require a larger, dedicated circuit. AirWatts typically indicate the power of the unit, but be cautious of using single high-air watt motors in larger home applications, as they may wear out too soon. Consider a unit with a utility valve on the tank for cleaning the cars and garage Typically code requires the wall between the garage and home to be penetrated with steel pipe. Check local building codes for safety requirements.

2. Piping

Provides suction from the power unit and delivers waste to the power unit.

2-inch special piping tested to specific standards. Cut the pipe with a miter box, chop saw, or tubing cutter. It must have a smooth, straight cut to reduce potential for debris getting stuck. Use wide sweeping turns at all locations after the inlet valve. For less friction loss, make jogs with 45-degree ells instead of 90-degree ells. Low-voltage wire follows along the outside of the pipe. Strap it to the pipe with zip ties or tape. Wire is run in series rather than home-run.

3. Inlets

Installed in the walls between piping and hoses.

Typically, one inlet covers 600 to 900 square feet of living space. Inlets are located at the same height as electrical outlets, but they can also fit in to the baseboards. Inlets are available as “air-only” or electrified. Electricity is required for traditional power brushes, but can still be provided with a separate cord for non-electrified (less expensive) outlets. Remember to place inlets near outdoor patios and porches. Plan for an inlet near the base of the stairs.

4. Hoses

Connect from the inlet to the vacuum cleaner.

Hoses normally come in 30-foot lengths, but 35-footers are available. Consider buying an additional hose and tool set for upstairs. A hose sock can protect baseboards and furniture. Designate a closet to hang the hose and tool set. Options are available for easy-to-tote spools and for hoses (up to 50 feet) that retract into walls.

5. Power Brushes, Accessories

Connect to hoses for cleaning everything from carpeting to pets.

Power brushes are the best central vac accessory for cleaning carpets and other flooring. Most brushes require electricity, but some lower-powered units can operate via air power. Brushes come in a variety of shapes and sizes for cleaning upholstery, staircases, cars, underneath furniture and more. Additional accessories can be used for cleaning tight spaces, ceiling fans, pets and more.

Grant Olewire of MD Manufacturing contributed to this article.

By CE Pro Editors


Custom Installation Services, LLC – First choice for low voltage wiring and central vac in Charlotte, NC and surrounding areas


Posted in 3D TV, Automation, Central Vac System, Flat Panel TV's, Home Theater, IP Cameras, LED, lighting control, Low Voltage Contractors, Lutron Radio Ra II, Media Rooms, Outdoor Speakers, Structured Wiring, technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Happy New Year To Everyone!

Custom Installation Services - Charlotte's Source For Home Theater!With the holidays and our busier than normal schedule over the past month, it has been a while since I have posted a blog.  So, this will be different than my normal format of product news.  I wanted to post a personal blog to thank all of our loyal clients for your support over the past year.  2010 was a good year for C.I.S., with new product offerings added to our lineup, as well as new and exciting technology trends.  None of which would have been possible without everyone’s continued support!

A new direction for us this year was to “dabble” in more commercial A/V installations.  These included sports bars as well as an overhaul of the video at Lance, Inc.  This has opened up a new revenue stream for C.I.S., and one we will continue as we move forward into the future.  As part of this new commercial business, C.I.S. has partnered with ZEE-VEE, makers of high definition boxes that enable 1080p over coax for long distance runs and combining signals to existing channels for ease of use.

Another new product in our lineup is from SpeakerCraft, with their addition of the “FloBox”.  The FloBox is a single unit that allows you to dock your iPod, iPhone or iPad, play a CD, stream from the internet, access iTunes or listen to FM radio.  Combined with substantial amplification, quality drivers and a sleek, futuristic cabinet available in five finishes, the FloBox will transform any room into a concert hall at the push of a button!

I would like to again thank everyone for your continued support, and to a great 2011!  Stay tuned for more of my traditional blogs with product news and updates!

Don Miller


Custom Installation Services, LLC - We specialize in fixing the $99 TV install by our “competitors”!

Posted in 3d movies, 3D TV, Audio Systems, Automation, Blu-ray, Flat Panel TV's, Gaming Systems, Home Theater, i-Pad, LED, lighting control, Line Conditioners, Lutron Radio Ra II, Media Rooms, Multi Room A/V, Music and Movies, News, Panamax, recycling, Structured Wiring, technology, Theater Seating | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Custom Installation Services, LLC | P.O. Box 132 Matthews, NC 28106 | 704-400-8701 | dmiller@cis-nc.com
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