Verizon Tackles Home Maintenance Automation

If Verizon commercializes an idea hatched by engineers in Massachusetts, subscribers would receive notifications on TVs and mobile devices when home appliances ranging from air conditioners to washing machines need maintenance.

The home automation system, detailed in a patent application published on Thursday, may also allow subscribers to order replacement parts and schedule service appointments with a few clicks of a remote control or mobile device.

XiaoFormer Verizon technical manager and architect Jeff (Hong) Xiao is named as lead inventor on the patent application, titled, “Home Maintenance Automation.” Xiao is now senior server architect at Burlington, Mass.-based NetBrain Technologies Inc.

Abstract: A network device receives customer registration information identifying a customer; receives first appliance registration information identifying a first appliance associated with the customer; and receives second appliance registration information identifying a second appliance associated with the customer. The first appliance registration information includes an initiation date and a service schedule of maintenance events for the first appliance, and the second appliance registration information includes an initiation date and a service schedule of maintenance events for the second appliance. The network device stores, in a data structure, the customer registration information, the first appliance registration information, and the second appliance registration information, and monitors the data structure for upcoming maintenance events for the first appliance or the second appliance.

Patent Application

Claims:

1. A method, comprising: receiving, by a network device, customer registration information identifying a customer; receiving, by the network device, first appliance registration information identifying a first appliance associated with the customer, wherein the first appliance registration information includes an initiation date and a service schedule of maintenance events for the first appliance; receiving, by the network device, second appliance registration information identifying a second appliance associated with the customer, wherein the second appliance registration information includes an initiation date and a service schedule of maintenance events for the second appliance; storing, in a data structure and by the network device, the customer registration information, the first appliance registration information, and the second appliance registration information; and monitoring, by the network device, the data structure for upcoming maintenance events for the first appliance or the second appliance.

2. The method of claim 1, further comprising: providing, by the network device and using the customer registration information, a notification to a customer when the monitoring detects an upcoming maintenance event for the first appliance or the second appliance.

3. The method of claim 2, wherein the notification includes one or more of: a text message, an email message, a television pop-up notification, or a notification via a mobile application.

4. The method of claim 2, wherein the notification includes: a list of one or more vendors from which a part, associated with the upcoming maintenance event, can be purchased; or a list of one or more vendors for performing a service call associated with the upcoming maintenance event.

5. The method of claim 1, wherein the upcoming maintenance events for the first appliance or the second appliance include one or more of: replacing of a part associated with the first appliance or the second appliance, or performing a service procedure or inspection for the first appliance or the second appliance.

6. The method of claim 1, further comprising: monitoring the data structure for the upcoming maintenance events for appliances associated with multiple customers; identifying, in the data structure, multiple maintenance events in a local geographic area during a common time window; and providing, to a vendor, a notification of the multiple maintenance events.

7. The method of claim 6, further comprising: receiving vendor registration information including types of services and geographic areas covered by the vendor; and storing, in the data structure, the vendor registration information.

8. The method of claim 1, further comprising: receiving, from a mobile device, an indication of a service that was performed on the first appliance or the second appliance; and storing, in the data structure, the indication of the service with the customer registration information, the first appliance registration information, and the second appliance registration information.

9. The method of claim 1, further comprising: receiving, from a user device, a request for data to present an appliance control panel; providing, to the user device: a current status of the first appliance in relation to the initiation date and the service schedule of maintenance events for the first appliance, and a current status of the second appliance in relation to the initiation date and the service schedule of maintenance events for the second appliance.

10. The method of claim 9, wherein the current status of the first appliance and the current status of the second appliance each include an indication of whether action, relating to the respective first appliance or second appliance, is required by the user, and wherein the current status of the first appliance and the current status of the second appliance is indicated within the appliance control panel among a status of other appliances.

11. The method of claim 1, further comprising: sending, to a mobile device, a client application to read a barcode associated with the first appliance, wherein the barcode includes an identifier for the first appliance and a uniform resource locator (URL) to obtain the service schedule of maintenance events for the first appliance.

12. A device, comprising: a memory configured to store a plurality of instructions; and a processing unit configured to: receive customer registration information identifying a customer, receive first appliance registration information identifying a first appliance associated with the customer, wherein the first appliance registration information includes an initiation date and a service schedule of maintenance events for the first appliance, receive second appliance registration information identifying a second appliance associated with the customer, wherein the second appliance registration information includes an initiation date and a service schedule of maintenance events for the second appliance, store, in a data structure, the customer registration information, the first appliance registration information, and the second appliance registration information, and monitor the data structure for upcoming maintenance events for the first appliance or the second appliance.

13. The device of claim 12, wherein the processing unit is further configured to: provide, using the customer registration information, a notification to a customer when the monitoring detects an upcoming maintenance event for the first appliance or the second appliance.

14. The device of claim 12, wherein the notification includes: a list of one or more vendors from which a part, associated with the upcoming maintenance event, can be purchased; or a list of one or more vendors for performing a service call associated with the upcoming maintenance event.

15. The device of claim 12, wherein the processing unit is further configured to: receive, from an appliance manufacturer device, updated service schedule information for one or more of the first appliance or the second appliance, and store, in the data structure, the updated service schedule information associated with the customer.

16. The device of claim 12, wherein the processing unit is further configured to: monitor the data structure for the upcoming maintenance events for appliances associated with multiple customers, identify, in the data structure, multiple maintenance events in a local geographic area during a common time window, and provide, to a vendor, a notification of the multiple maintenance events.

17. The device of claim 12, wherein the processing unit is further configured to: send, to a mobile device, a client application configured to read a barcode associated with the first appliance, wherein the barcode includes a uniform resource locator (URL) to obtain the service schedule of maintenance events for the first appliance.

18. A computer-readable medium containing instructions executable by at least one processing unit, the computer-readable medium comprising one or more instructions for: receiving customer registration information identifying a customer; receiving first appliance registration information identifying a first appliance associated with the customer, wherein the first appliance registration information includes an initiation date and a service schedule of maintenance events for the first appliance; receiving second appliance registration information identifying a second appliance associated with the customer, wherein the second appliance registration information includes an initiation date and a service schedule of maintenance events for the second appliance; storing, in a data structure, the customer registration information, the first appliance registration information, and the second appliance registration information; and monitoring the data structure for upcoming maintenance events for the first appliance or the second appliance.

19. The computer-readable medium claim 18, further comprising one or more instructions for: monitoring the data structure for the upcoming maintenance events for appliances associated with multiple customers; identifying, in the data structure, multiple maintenance events in a local geographic area during a common time window; and providing, to a vendor device, a notification of the multiple maintenance events.

20. The computer-readable medium claim 18, further comprising one or more instructions for: receiving, from a mobile device, an indication of a service that was performed on the first appliance or the second appliance; and storing, in the data structure, the indication of the service with the customer registration information, the first appliance registration information, and the second appliance registration information.