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Verizon’s SmartHub packs 4G LTE and support for smart home devices

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Jonathan Weiss/123RF
Verizon wants to manage your smart home devices, and it’s rolling out a new hub to seal the deal. On Wednesday, May 25, the carrier announced SmartHub, a new combination Wi-Fi hot spot and smart home controller designed for businesses, homes, and other private places.

Verizon’s cylindrical SmartHub, which comes with a backup battery and a touchscreen that shows data stats and Wi-Fi passwords, isn’t the most sophisticated router on the block, but it strengthens Verizon’s high-speed 4G LTE — including HD Voice and your existing Verizon phone numbers — in any room. And just like Samsung’s SmartThings and Wink, it lets you monitor, program, and control smart home devices from your phone, tablet, or compatible PC.

SmartHub can do more if you subscribe to Verizon Home, Verizon’s new home automation platform. Home customers can unlock internet-connected deadbolts, adjust the brightness and color of smart bulbs, view and record security camera footage, and switch on and off your home’s cooling system. And they can create routines using the SmartHub companion app — you could trigger a Nest thermostat when you’re heading home from work, for example, or have a Kwikset lock unlock the front door when you pull into the driveway.

Verizon’s SmartHub goes on sale on May 26 for $200, or $100 if you agree to a two-year contract. There’s no word on subscription pricing — we’ve reached out to Verizon for clarification, and we’ll update the post when we hear back.

The new hub and service are in some ways Verizon’s second attempt at home automation. Home Monitoring and Control, which Verizon retired in 2014, offered wireline FiOS customers security cameras, connected lighting, door locks, and thermostats for a $90 installation fee and $10 per month on top of their existing bills. Subscribers could use their FiOS TV remotes to control appliances, and set up automation from the Home Monitoring and Control app for smartphones.

But Verizon’s not the only carrier dipping a toe in smart home automation. AT&T’s Digital Life service, which starts at $30 a month, includes a suite of solutions for smartphones, wearables, tablets, computers, and more. Customers can add connected indoor and outdoor cameras, appliances and thermostats, automated locks, and garage door openers for a monthly fee.

And it’s certainly not the only internet provider offering home automation. Time Warner Cable — now Spectrum — offers a remote monitoring and control service in the form of IntelligentHome, which supports wireless door locks, smart lightbulbs, in-wall light switches, and more. Setup fees started at $100, and a monthly subscription cost $40 a month.

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