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Smart Homes Left In the Dark As Service Provider Goes Dark

According to recent polls, almost 70% of U.S. households own at least one smart home device – and it’s easy to see why. With options ranging from large home appliances like washers, dryers, refrigerators, and ovens, to simpler devices like smart light bulbs and even smartphones, it’s increasingly becoming more difficult to avoid this generation of smart devices.

But what happens when your devices suddenly go dark? What do you do when the servers that feed data to all these smart devices suddenly go offline? For customers of the popular smart device brand, Insteon, that’s the exact situation they faced in mid-April 2022.

Left in the Dark

While it wasn’t the first service provider to experience such an issue, the popularity of Insteon products makes this one of the most widespread and publicized smart device outages to date. After all, the company provided more than 200 smart devices to consumers throughout the U.S. and beyond. Their product catalog contained listings for smart remotes, outlets, thermostats, sensors, voltage controllers, computer interfaces, and much more.

Unfortunately, all of these devices went dark in mid-April 2022. Although it was first viewed as nothing more than a simple, temporary outage, consumers quickly became worried when Insteon’s CEO, Rob Lilleness, failed to respond to media inquiries regarding the outage. When he then proceeded to scrub his LinkedIn profile of any information relating to his role at Insteon, consumers knew something was amiss.

It took several days, but the Insteon website was finally updated with a goodbye message. While it ultimately means that any former customers of Insteon will have to look elsewhere for their smart home needs, the message does bring closure to the situation.

The statement reads, in part: “In 2019, the onset of the global pandemic brought unforeseen disruption to the market, but the company continued to move forward. However, the subsequent (and enduring) disruption to the supply chain caused by the pandemic proved incredibly difficult and the company engaged in a sales process in November, 2021.”

It continues to detail an attempted sale of Insteon, which was expected to take place in March 2022. However, the deal fell through and the company never found a buyer. As a result, they had no choice but to shutter their service and close their doors for good.

While their statement does provide some much-needed transparency, it fails to address the lack of warning given to their customers. Considering the popularity of Insteon devices, including their place as one of the earliest pioneers in the smart device industry, this has left many former customers with a sour taste in their mouths.

If nothing else, the incident should be taken as a warning for all smart device users. Sure, the convenience they offer has a lot of benefits, but you should never completely rely on these devices for basic amenities like lights, heating and cooling, or cooking. While you certainly don’t need to avoid these devices completely, you should have a backup in place and ready to go if needed.


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