One of the biggest concerns you may have when you start investing in smart home gadgets (beyond the concern for privacy breaches) is, “What happens if your chosen brand ends support or shuts down?” For Insteon customers, that’s the fear that’s happening right now as they face outages on the third day. No official word yet, but things aren’t looking good: The company’s forums are down, and CEOs (including the president and president of parent company Insteon) are staying away from the company. By all appearances, Insteon is dead.
Many of our readers may not be familiar with the name Insteon, but it is a smart home company that saw early fame due to its scalability, speed of operation, and automation tools, with many early adopters investing in it quite deeply. The company provided basics like smart switches, ports, sensors, and remote controls, but it also had a complex ecosystem of add-ons like computer interfaces, range extenders, and embedded hardware that could be used in lots of new and customized ways. Its products worked with the Google Assistant and was one of the first users of Apple’s HomeKit.
Insteon uses a hub-based system that communicates via a proprietary 900MHz protocol combined with power line-based wired data transmission, with each device acting as a repeater for the extensive network-based smart home system. While combined with many other services, Insteon has never used the more universal smart home standards that have taken off since then, and Matter’s upcoming ascent may eventually prove to be one of the many nails in its coffin.
Several Insteon products, including consoles and remote controls that are famous for triggering “scene” automation.
Customer reports indicate that Insteon services have been down for about the past three days, causing interference with some automation, digital assistant integration, and even basic app-based remote control in many cases. As Ron Amadeo of Ars Technica points out, the protocols used by Insteon are backwards-engineered, and clients have Some Resorting in the form of Home Assistant and OpenHab to fill the gap, but this requires a bit of work on their part. In the case of Home Assistant at least, customers are also being warned, “Do not factory reset your device under any circumstances, as it will not be recoverable.” It appears that a remote connection to the Insteon servers is required for setup to complete successfully.
Stacey Higginbotham of Stacey On IOT noted two days ago that Rob Lileness, president and chairman of parent company Smartlabs, had removed references to Insteon and Smartlabs from his LinkedIn profile, and that several other executives associated with the company are now either listing them in roles that have expired or Insteon was similarly excluded from the employment registry. Higginbotham also noted that the phone number associated with the company is no longer connected, and no one at Insteon appears to be responding to inquiries. Android Police also reached out to Insteon for more information, but there was no immediate response.
Some reports suggest that some types of Insteon hub may still run reliably even with the company’s servers not responding, and customers in the /r/insteon subreddit have been discussing various solutions and solutions to their problems – if you’re among those affected, it might be worth taking a look .
No official word has come from the company yet, although customers have paid hundreds to thousands of dollars for the devices and they certainly deserve an explanation. Frankly, it’s not clear if the company still exists in an atmosphere of warm bodies in the office. To all appearances and given the apparent lack of interest after days of interruptions, the Insteon either decided to pull a wink, or it just passed away, much to the chagrin of its owners and the entertainment of smart home critics. (more like Insteturning offMy princess?)
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