Ann Shaub, Verizon

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Ann Shaub, VerizonAnn Shaub, Director of Connected Home and CPE, Verizon (NYSE: VZ) is an executive that's not afraid of moving new concepts out of the lab and into reality.

Working on cutting-edge ideas inside the telco is nothing new for Shaub. Prior to her current role, the 28-year Verizon veteran served for four years in the telco's Technology Organization where she focused on bringing new and emerging technologies to the Consumer Marketing Organization.

She and her team serve two roles: bringing Verizon's Connected Home program to market and ensuring that the company's Customer Premise Equipment (CPE) portfolio for FiOS and its traditional DSL broadband subscribers meet consumer's needs.

One of the key areas of innovation she's driving in her current role is home automation under its Connected Home program. Like other telcos such as AT&T (NYSE: T) and Frontier (Nasdaq: FTR) and even cable operators, namely Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA) and Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC), Verizon is developing these solutions to obtain new and retain existing customers.

Following early investments Verizon made in pioneering home automation companies such as 4Home, the service provider made its formal move into the home automation space last fall.

Shaub said in an interview with Light Reading TV last November that home automation and control is part of a broader home services vision.

Beginning with layering services on the broadband connection such as online security, they started building what Shaub calls their service pillars: connecting the phone devices in the home; connecting video devices such as STBs and router/gateways supporting FiOS TV; and home control service.

With the home control service, consumers can do simple activities such as lock and unlock doors and windows, watch home video cameras remotely, and manage thermostats and lighting remotely from a PC, tablet or their cell phone.

Verizon's home automation play is not like the fictional automated home that would be seen in a James Bond film or in Hollywood that would cost thousands of dollars and custom installation. Being a consumer herself, Shaub and her team have developed a solution that is largely self-installable.  

While the home automation market and the so-called "smart home" concept is arguably very new territory for service providers, some analyst groups believe it's poised for major growth. ABI Research forecasts that the global market for Home Automation Service (HAS) is expected to grow from 2011's 1.5 million shipments to 20 million installed units by 2017.