New kinds of products hit Verizon's LTE network

Verizon's open development initiative, combined with its LTE network, are attracting new kinds of products

Verizon used the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas as an opportunity to show off some of the unique applications and products being developed on its LTE network.

The wide variety of devices are coming out now because of a combination of the wide availability of Verizon's LTE network and its open development initiative, launched several years ago, Verizon said.

"We've seen a shift from traditional devices coming through in large numbers to a cross-section of nontraditional devices coming through in significant numbers as well," said David McCarley, an executive director at Verizon who oversees device testing.

In Verizon's booth, OnStar showed off a prototype system built into a Chevrolet Volt that lets a driver control entertainment and home automation and find charging locations from a touchscreen on the dashboard.

The system featured two tablet computers hung in front of each of the rear seats. In a demonstration of the system, using the touchscreen on the dashboard, the driver chose a movie and sent it to one of the back-seat displays. The driver then set up a Skype video call and sent it to the other back-seat display, where a passenger there could have a video call.

In a real-life situation, the movie could be streamed over Verizon's LTE network from the driver's home computer. The Skype call would also work over the LTE network.

The driver used the touchscreen to control systems in the home such as the thermostat, lights and garage door. Additional systems let the driver view nearby charging stations for the electric vehicle on a map.

Another application in the car would allow the electric company to learn how much power the car needs for a charge and then deliver power to the car when plugged in overnight at times when the grid is least used. While many of the technologies in the car were just for demonstration purposes, that one is already available as part of a pilot program, said Steve Schwinke, director, advanced systems design for OnStar.

Verizon hosted dozens of other technologies in its booth that use its LTE network. It showed an ATM machine, smart meters, desk phones and telepresence products, all backhauled by LTE.

As part of its open development initiative, McCarley and a group of engineers rewrote the specifications for devices running on Verizon's network reducing the requirements from thousands of pages to a few hundred, he said. That made it easier for developers to build products for the network and "from then, the doorbell kept ringing," he said.

Nancy Gohring covers mobile phones and cloud computing for The IDG News Service. Follow Nancy on Twitter at @idgnancy. Nancy's e-mail address is Nancy_Gohring@idg.com

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