Verizon Hub: A Work In Progress

verizonhubI decided to have a look a what Verizon Wireless has to say about their fancy new Hub home phone.  A stated previously, I’m an enthusiast and early adopter, so I could be compelled to change wireless carriers if the Hub was really something special. In fact, I want something like this in my home, that is, if it can deliver upon even half of the promise that I envision.

So I cruised on over to their web site and read all there was to read. Saw all there was to see.

So what do you get? Here’s what they promote as features of the device:

And now a summary or service/calling features:

#611, *611, 611 Caller ID Temporary Blocking (*67)
#4673 Caller ID Temporary Unblocking (*82)
#BAL Call Waiting
#PMT Call Waiting Temporarily Disabled (*70)
3-Way Calling Call Waiting Caller ID
10-Digit Dialing Directory Assistance
711 TRS / Telephone Relay Service Do Not Disturb (DND)
811 DG / Call Before You Dig Do Not Disturb Scheduling
911 Support Most Often Called Calling
Anonymous Call Rejection Return Call (*69)
Call Forwarding (*72) Set Backup Number
Call Forwarding – Cancel (*73) Simultaneous Ring
Call Logs Speed Dialing (*75)
Caller ID Voice Mail (*86)
Caller ID with Name Web Access (management portal)

It’s pretty clear that Verizon views the hub and just another manifestation of a common cellular handset. They’re not leveraging the Open Peak platform to any depth. There’s nothing truly innovative being offered. In essence, they have taken the low road, and offered the very minimum service level that such a device could sustain.

I lay this decision right at the feet of Verizon. Open Peak describes a much richer possible user experience in promoting their platform. In sharp contrast to Verizon they describe a broad array of widgets accessing various online services.

Of particular interest to me, Open Peak claims to offer “High Definition Calling” using their platform. That implies that the hardware is CATiQ compliant and so can make G.722 encoded calls. That’s possibly very interesting, but requires support for calling via SIP URI to be of any real use. If multiple handsets are possible using one base then the intercom function would be wideband capable in any case. At least the hardware is not limited to a POTS line like the prior Verizon One offering.

I’d be extremely interested in acquiring a sample unit from Open Peak and exploring its potential more fully than Verizon allows. In going through their marcom material I see a lot to like. Verizon‘s product offering is seriously limited, but the Open Peak widget library may yet prove interesting.

Of course, the best approach would be to allow third party widget development. Only then would the platform truly become the “iPhone for the Home” that some envision. Open Peak are working on a framework for this to happen. According to their web site;

The OpenPeak App Shop allows you to customize the OpenFrame by quickly finding and comparing applications in one convenient place.

Service providers and registered third party developers have the ability to easily post and distribute their applications and then receive reports and payment. Service providers have full control over which applications are available to customers within the App Shop.

This is definitely a hopeful sign. Open Peak “gets it” even if Verizon doesn’t. While Verizon‘s Hub makes no sense for me currently, perhaps one day they or another provider will offer something similar without the crippling limitations.

  • No wow factor as VZW does not offer SIP URIs for wireless handsets — that are neither “smart” nor “media” phones.

    itards have no ‘win’ running a sip app on an inordinately expensive data plan to “save” money on mobile calls

    :rolleyes: