My Home 2.0

I went to an event this afternoon sponsored by Verizon and its new FIOS service. Verizon took over a home in the Yardely, PA community, and did a complete tech makeover of the home. For the big reveal, Verizon had a huge block party, complete with carnival games, face painting, free snacks and sodas, Guitar Hero, the ability to experience FIOS for yourself, and a giveaway of a 42″ plasma TV. Sweet!

I have to say, I am excited to have learned more about FIOS, but a little frustrated that my neighborhood near Longwood Gardens is not yet on the schedule. I would happily switch to FIOS if it were available. Instead, I am stuck with Comcast, where I have had some problems with service variations that have not yet been fixed despite numerous complaints. (But they’re the only game in town, at the moment.)

The FIOS service is impressively quick, great for someone like me who is on the ‘net all the time, uploading pictures, podcasts, etc. I can’t wait!

The tech makeover of the house included a new home office computer with a 20 inch monitor (SWEET!) for the dad who is a real estate agent, and new wireless laptops for Mom and for the Kids. A 4 in 1 printer, and a bulk printer as well, and even a custom website for the dad’s real estate business were part of the package. (Only leaving me to speculate whether they would train him, so he can do his own custom updates.)

The tech make over also included at tricked out playroom/entertainment center for the family, with an Xbox, surround sound….but if everything else was wireless, why were the Guitars for Guitar Hero on the Xbox wired???

The presentation was marred by a few technical difficulties with wireless mics cutting out, video cutting out, and people (including myself) deciding after the playroom reveal, it was time to leave.

This was a great event. I am so sorry I missed meeting James Earl Jones, a personal hero of mine, and someone I’d love to interview for the LD Podcast. Every Verizon person was personable and helpful, except for some of the concession people, who seemed preoccupied with talking to each other, and were somewhat rude, especially compared to everyone else.

The big execs from Verizon seemed to keep to themselves, which I thought was kind of odd at a community event. I know being the lead organizer of Podcamp Philly, I think accessibility and getting to be part of the conversation is vital. I think they would have been better served by talking to people other than their co-workers- it didn’t seem like it was particularly event “coordination” talk, either- just hanging and observing- when I think they should have been participating.

I met the Mom of the Kaczor family, and her mother. The Mom was really sweet. Mrs. Kaczor’s Mom had lost her husband in a car accident about 14 mo. ago, (due to being hit by a drunk driver) and her son is getting married next weekend. She was holding up to all this stress remarkably well, and was just as sweet and friendly as she could have been.

I thought this family was simply a great choice- they were a prototypical suburban family, and the upgrade to faster service will be more than just a luxury, but a business advantage for them. (Now all they need is for some of us in the local podcasting community to teach them how to use imovie and/or podcasts to help promote his real estate listings.)

I’m impressed by everything Verizon did, the friendliness of the staff, and more importantly, how totally cool FIOS is, and how badly I wish it were available in my area.

You can see all the pictures I took on my flickr stream by clicking here.

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7 Comments

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7 responses to “My Home 2.0

  1. Hi, Whitney, great blog you’ve got here. I’m glad to hear you had fun at the Kaczor party, and I know everyone involved in putting it all together appreciates your feedback.

    I also feel your pain on the issue of being “FiOS-less” at the moment — believe me, you’re not alone in your frustration. “FiOS-less?” is actually the name of one of the sections on our new My Home 2.0 website, which gives some background on the FiOS rollout, and why we hope folks like you will be patient a little longer. We’re just starting out, but the site will soon grow into a great resource for all things FiOS, so keep checking back.

    Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts on our party. Great to meet you!

  2. Thanks Jim!

    The party was really fun, and I can’t wait for FiOS. And from an internet girl’s perspective, I think FiOS is going to change the way many people use the internet- so much of the content available is essentially silent if you don’t have the right sort of connection or graphics card in your computer.

    By making such lightening fast connections available, media producers and media consumers will both have the best of all worlds. Thanks for taking the time to read a comment on the blog!

  3. Whitney,
    Thanks so much for spending your Saturday with the Kaczor’s, their family, friends and neighbors as well as our crew from My Home 2.0. We are really psyched that you had fun (the ultimate goal) and also got a chance to experience FiOS….. Even though sometimes seeing it in action can make the waiting a little harder!

    We’d be happy to dig into the FiOS availability for your home – we’ll use the phone number from your site and get back to you with the latest plans for your neighborhood.

    And thanks especially for your observations and ideas on how to make the party better. We are planning block party #2 for October 13 in Thornton, Chester County (closer location to you) and I promise we will have concession workers that are more friendly. Maybe we’ll have the juggler serve the hotdogs?

    As for our Verizon team, we absolutely need to mingle with our guests and not just hang to the side and watch. Although, if we start playing Guitar Hero I am a bit worried as to what might happen…. we are just a bit competitive and although you might not know it, Verizon people do like to jam!

    Thanks again,
    Beth Mulhern
    Director, Consumer Marketing – PA/DE

  4. Cheryl Blauvelt

    Hi Whitney, Such a nice blog! I had a wonderful time at the block party. I was so happy for my daughter and her family! Watching the activities of the week and meeting everyone was quite an experience. Everyone was so nice and friendly. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Thank you for such nice comments about me….gee…….it’s nice to read!
    I love my family, they have been there for me this past year. Verizon and Campfire did a great job! looking forward to the tv program!

  5. Jennifer Glazeski

    My family had a bad experience with Verizon, Campfire Media and My Home 2.0. We began the application process for My Home 2.0 in June 2007. They asked us to send them a video in July2007. They came to our house to film us on three separate occasions in August 2007. One one occasion I had to take an unpaid day off work. After the first visit, they said we were finalists. After the third visit, they said they would let us know within a week or two if we were chosen. Months passed, and they never contacted us.

    Several of the families they chose already have Fios TV and a lot of expensive technology toys. My children have nothing and it would have been a dream come true for them. Based on our experience, it seems they were very insensitive toward the families.

  6. This is very hot information. I’ll share it on Facebook.

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