Tonight many Nest thermostat, Protect, Cam/Dropcam users experienced an outage that lasted close to 4 hours. It affected users ability to check on their Dropcam, adjust their thermostat remotely, and be alerted of any problems from their Nest Protect. The service has experienced more outages in the past few months, and some users have pointed to Google purchasing the company. The outages do cause some concern, and make us question if Iot devices can survive on the mass market.
The Nest thermostat still has a physical interface so you’re always able to change the temperature when you’re near the device, and the Protect will sound its alarm even if it’s not connected to the internet. The Dropcam/cam on the other hand doesn’t have any interface to interact while locally connected to the same wifi. These workarounds though are what we are trying to get away from, and place them on our phones or other internet connected device.
The Iot outages will become more normal, annoying, and problematic for normal users who have to call support to troubleshoot. The answer could come in the form of mesh networks where you can control and monitor your devices even if you don’t have an active internet connection. That solution does need some universal way for devices to communicate together with like Apple’s Homekit or Google’s Brillo. We do need some local interface to interact and control our Iot devices because internet does go out, services do have interruptions, and power can go out for prolonged times.
We’re investigating a service outage with the Nest mobile and web app, and the team is working on a fix. Details to come.
— Nest Support (@nestsupport) September 8, 2015
Nest service has been restored. We’ll continue to monitor the situation and will take immediate steps if any additional incidents occur. — Nest Support (@nestsupport) September 8, 2015
Companies like Nest, Wink, and other Iot dependent companies don’t have answers for these outages or how to handle or prevent them really. Most of the companies rely heavily on great customer support and updating users on Twitter or status pages.
Tell us in the comments below if you have a Nest device and if you were affected by the outage!