Monday, December 5, 2011

A Day In The Life of A Brambleton Resident with Verizon FiOS

As a relative newcomer to Brambleton, you might wonder how I qualify to write an article about the 10th Anniversary of this unique community. My residency in Brambleton may be relatively short, but it’s been intense. I’ve enthusiastically immersed myself in all the community has to offer -- joining groups like the Events Committee and taking the opportunity to meet many of my fellow Brambleton residents.

Although my family and I have lived here for only one year now, over the past 10 years I’ve become well-versed in all things Brambleton. As a result of the long-running relationship this community has had with Verizon, whom I’ve worked for since 1999, I’ve gotten to know the community. As a member of the Verizon Enhanced Communities team responsible for supporting FiOS services and new applications development, I have had a frontline view of how Brambleton and Verizon FiOS have evolved together over the years.

Since its original inception, technology has been a central component of the Brambleton community vision. The decision to bring Verizon’s then newly-launched FiOS all-fiber-optic network to every home in the community and offer FiOS Internet and TV as a standard amenity to every resident, created a key strategic partnership for our company as well. This has positioned Brambleton to be one of the first to receive new cutting-edge Verizon services.

Going back through the Verizon news archives, I found a press release that originally announced the collaboration between Soave Real Estate and Verizon. Here is how Brambleton owner, Anthony L. Soave, put it:

“Partnering with Verizon has differentiated our community. We have been able to offer our homebuyers unparalleled high-tech services that most communities are simply not able to provide to their residents.

With telecommuting, home-based businesses and the need for lightning-fast Internet connections all on the increase, the products and services offered over Verizon’s fiber network will give our homeowners more free time to connect with family and friends and provide more leisure time for themselves.”

Looking back, residents today are clearly reaping the benefits of their founder’s foresight. Verizon’s all-fiber-optic FiOS network has been in place from the beginning, helping to support Brambleton’s incomparable sense of community and its exceptional variety of community-enhancing services. It’s what motivated my family to buy a home in Brambleton, and it is what keeps this community vibrant and growing.

Brambleton was the first Northern Virginia planned community in which fiber-optic cables were installed in each and every home, in anticipation of technological innovations to come. Since the initial Brambleton installation, many more services and features have been brought by Verizon to the Brambleton residents – upgrades have been made without having to install more equipment or change the network. This forward-looking approach allows my family and other Brambleton residents to live our lives more conveniently and to take full advantage of the hottest and coolest new services and features.

Similar to other residents in the community, I may at times work from home. I count on the reliability of the FiOS network so I can focus on what the workday holds for me, knowing it won’t be interrupted by weather-related disruptions or slow-downs on the network due to multiple users having to share bandwidth during the busiest times of the day, as I’ve suffered through in other non-fiber communities where I’ve lived.

Speaking of weather, if I do need to check the weather, news headlines and my horoscope, I turn to the convenience of the various widgets offered as part of my FiOS TV service. The YouTube, Facebook and Twitter widgets are a great way to keep up with Brambleton Marketing Coordinator, Stephanie Lee’s frequent tweets and updates about the community. (Thanks for your dedication, Stephanie)!

If my family and I want to go out to lunch or dinner or just grab a snack, I can log into my Verizon account and check the Verizon Perks website for coupons to several of the Town Center businesses. If I am waiting in the doctor’s office or just waiting while my kids play at Legacy Park, I can watch movies I’ve purchased with Verizon FiOS Flex View. I can rent or purchase movies, and they are available to me on whatever device I have on hand, be it TV, PC, tablet, or compatible smartphone. I can use my FiOS service almost anywhere! With Internet access, I can also log in to one of many online channels to watch my favorite shows at no extra charge. But not when I’m working, of course.

In our downtime, my family and I like to watch shows on our TV from the Verizon On-Demand library. With two young kids, most of what we watch falls under the genre of children’s shows. I have watched the On-Demand library expand over the years to where it is today – over 30,000 titles and still growing. Brambleton is a family-oriented community with many children, so I’m sure this feature is utilized by many.

I want to be connected not only when I’m in Brambleton but anywhere I go, and Verizon FiOS allows me to do that. As I mentioned, I can watch movies on my tablet or smartphone anywhere at any time. I can also program my DVR from anywhere, so if I’m traveling on business and forget to record a show I’d otherwise miss, I can easily program the DVR myself without bothering my husband or son to enter it for me. If I happen to misplace the TV remote (a common occurrence with two kids), I can turn my compatible smartphone into a remote and change channels that way. These apps are currently available for download at no additional cost.

Finally, while I may not be the most eco-conscious person on the planet, I like the fact that Brambleton allows and encourages me to improve that part of my life. Through the Brambleton partnership with Recyclebank, I can do my small part to be a better steward of the environment. As a bonus, I get reward points for doing so, redeemable for local discounts or services.

This year, Brambleton also introduced a community garden. I did not participate this year, but I am looking forward to next year’s growing season so I can teach my kids how to raise our own healthy food. Being from Indiana, we always had fresh vegetables from our garden. By participating in this program, it will get me back to my roots, if you’ll pardon the pun. And thanks to our FiOS Internet, after a day working in the garden, my kids will be able to share the experience with their grandparents back in Indiana, sending them photos and HD home videos. The whole extended family, near and far, can share in the experience with my kids.

As a busy working mother, my schedule can be hectic as I try to attend to various home, family and work obligations. Sometimes my time and attention can be stretched to the limit. Any technology that helps me manage my life better, without complicated set-up required, is very attractive. So I am very excited about a new service Verizon is launching called Verizon Home Monitoring and Control. Unlike some DIY monitor and control component services available on the market, it will painlessly integrate a full range of networked devices like thermostats and cameras into an easy-to-use online service that gives you access and control almost anytime and anywhere you want. (Two options for install will be offered, either self-install or referral to a local installation expert).


Using this service, I expect to be able to remotely lock or unlock doors, control lights and temperature settings, view and monitor my home, or even check camera views to see if the family dogs -- Boston and Colt -- are behaving while we’re away. With the Energy Control management option, I can view a quick snapshot of my home’s energy usage in near-real-time, allowing our family to be more mindful of our carbon-footprint and adjust our habits to reduce consumption—saving us money and helping us be more energy-conscious. I can manage my home essentials from anywhere via smartphone, tablet or PC and, when home, through my TV remote control as well. Just the other day, after racing out the door to work, I had to backtrack down my street to see if I locked my door (I hadn’t). With Home Monitoring and Control, I won’t have to go out of my way again. I can have peace of mind, save money, and conserve energy, all from one convenient application. Brambleton is the first to offer this brand new service!

Living in Brambleton gives me peace of mind. I know my children will have the opportunity to attend the great local schools. Neighbors and fellow Brambletonians look out for each other, and there is a real sense of community connection. There is always something going on for adults or kids, so we never have to look very far for something fun to do. Living here allows me and my family to work, play, and connect. With Verizon FiOS, we can bring entertainment with us anywhere or just stay home – in Brambleton.

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