Marketing the Verizon Hub

Prior to delivery, we’ve definitely seen the potential in Verizon’s Internet widget station here at ZNF. But as release approached, with the implementation and contract details revealed, my enthusiasm has waned. In fact, I turned down a hands on briefing at Verizon’s HQ last week. However, that didn’t dissuade another PR flack from rebutting a few thoughts with a pitch. He says the Verizon Hub is a “great value,” which we’ll get to in a minute. He also says it “may not be for you.” And, on that point, he’s probably right.

I have no problem with the Verizon Hub tech and quite like the idea of a compact info and entertainment kiosk in the kitchen – remember, I’m the old school Audrey fan. However, this sort of solution may be less relevant in the age of iPhones, Chumbys, and netbooks. Which is why the VoIP services are prominently featured.

In fact, customers will never lose site of that – because the $200 Verizon Hub requires a $35/month subscription. (Bring your own Internet.) By itself and compared to other telecom and cable VoIP solutions, that’s not entirely unreasonable for unlimited calls. (Although, it’s no Ooma.) However, the two year contract really stings. Additionally, I have absolutely no idea why this home service requires a Verizon Wireless phone/plan. And these are my two main problems with the Hub initiative.

An unproven product category has enough marketing challenges in explaining what problem it solves and what is required. Why make it that much more difficult to seal the deal by requiring a contract and limiting your potential customer base to only Verizon Wireless subscribers? Increased barriers to entry result in s/lower consumer adoption.

5 thoughts on “Marketing the Verizon Hub”

  1. The $35 monthly with contract and with a BYO Internet plan is just insane. Moreso in today’s economy.

    Your previous article mentioned FiOS integration. What’s the status of that? Is it in the final product or no?

  2. I not aware of any direct FiOS TV integration at launch. However, they do intend to add/enhance functionality with device software updates. For an overview the tech functionality, check out PC Mag – Sascha doesn’t seem overly impressed with the address book and calendar features at this point.

  3. So it doesn’t use my wireless phone but requires one from Verizon. It does use Internet, but doesn’t require Verizon Internet. Sorry, who was the target audience again?

  4. “Hub is great value for home-phoners on copper”
    “Sweet spot: busy families”

    I’m a busy family. My wife has an iPhone. I have a Blackberry. Busy families that can afford $200+$35 per month have things like Blackberries and iPhones.
    We keep a joint calendar that is available to us already, for free, with Google. This device doesn’t replace our iPhone/Blackberry. When I take a phone message, I e-mail it to my wife. I can send her a text message when I want to get in touch with her. Why exactly would I leave a note on my Verizon Hub?

    So, it does all of these for people who don’t have smart cell phones. That is cool. However, don’t those people already have computers at home? I mean, if you have internet (required for the Hub), don’t you have a computer to hook it too?

    So, the device is for busy people, who are apparently tied to their house, without a laptop computer, but who can afford $200 plus $35 per month for a telephone and calendar. $200+$435 for the first year alone is $625.

    A Dell laptop on Dell’s website, today, can be had for $499. It comes with no monthly service charge. I could place that $499 next to my home phone and just leave it connected to Gmail, google maps, and Why is the Verizon thing different?

  5. More stupid lockin from Verizon.

    So if I abandon my Verizon cell phone for an AT&T iPhone, now I’ll have to not only pay a termination fee for my Verizon cell phone contract, but my home phone will stop working and I’ll pay a termination fee there too? And since the two services won’t have their two-year contracts aligned to end on the same date, there might NEVER be a time when you can get out from under them. Oh right, that’s exactly what they had in mind.

    Here’s the proper implementation: Anybody can buy it. It has a femtocell inside it so that it will boost your signal if you’re a Verizon cell phone subscriber. It costs less if you are a subscriber to both. But you don’t have to be.

    And the calendar and contact implementation? They just don’t get it obviously. A proprietary calendar that doesn’t integrate with anything? Have they even heard of Web 2.0?

    I may eventually install a “kitchen computer”. With a touchscreen and wireless keyboard. But it’ll be based on a standard OS, use my existing internet connection, be able to browse the whole web, have some kind of aggregating contact/calendar (or just use Google). And of course let me install any other software that suits my fancy.

    Sorry, FAIL.

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