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.