Smarthome firm and early HomeKit partner Insteon is dead, with no warning to customers

Posted:
in General Discussion
Smart home hardware and software company Insteon appears to have abruptly gone out of business, shut down their servers, and isn't responding to users, leaving adopters without working home automation systems.

Insteon Hub
Insteon Hub


The entire company appears to have been shuttered just before the weekend of April 16, Stacey On IoT reported n Monday. There are a variety of signs that point toward the company disappearing permanently, instead of the lack of service being due to an outage.

For example, the company's servers have been down for days despite the Insteon website claiming that all servers are online. The company support forums are down, and its social media pages have been completely unresponsive.

More than that, Insteon CEO Rob Lilleness appears to have scrubbed any mention of the smart home firm from his LinkedIn page. The same goes for other high-profile executives at the company.

With servers down, the Insteon app is now completely non-functional. Additionally, users have reported that their automations and schedules have stopped working.

Furthermore, troubleshooting steps that users have taken have done further damage. A factory reset of the company's hubs requires a server connection to complete. With the servers down, there is no way for the initial setup after the reset to complete.

Insteon was a company that produced various smart home products, ranging from hubs to thermostats and plugs. Many of its devices were compatible with Apple's own HomeKit system, including the flagship Insteon Hub.

Production of the Insteon Hub ended about five years ago. Practical support from the company for the hub ended about three years ago.

The company is also owned by Smartlabs, and both firms share many of the same executives. Internet of Things reporter Stacey Higginbotham, who runs Stacey on IoT, says that Smartlabs has yet to return her calls or emails.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 19
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,432member
    Not surprised.  Nokia was tweeting like mad about their forthcoming lighting system based on Insteon and then a few months ago they went silent.  Not a tweet, email ..nothing.  They must have backed off at light speed. 
    ravnorodomwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 19
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 2,854member
    You see this is one of my problems with a Home Automation system connected to the internet. A problem with a server, or in this case with the company, and poof, you have a house full of junk that’s worse than useless. My Honeywell thermostat won’t miss a beat even when the network is down. My old style motion sensor lights are the same. The remotes for the fans, and a few other things, don’t need a remote server to work. They just work. That’s not to mention my Schlage locks always work even if there’s no power. Just put in the key and turn to open. 
    ravnorodomAlex1Ngregoriusmsconosciutodarkvaderviclauyycjcs2305watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 19
    Not everyone is out of luck.  Anyone who has a working Hub Pro is still controlling their Insteon devices using HomeKit and Siri.  They don't depend on SmartHome's servers. But they can't add new devices to their hub or to HomeKit.
    gregoriusmchasmseanjdarkvaderwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 19
    netroxnetrox Posts: 1,464member
    This is why home automation should be open sourced, all the way. This is not the first time nor it will be the last time. 

    With open source, we can keep maintain them and support them.
    freeassociate2darkvaderwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 19
    This is bad. I never heard of this brand. I am sticking with well known brand just to be safe.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 19
    coolfactorcoolfactor Posts: 2,293member
    I had an experience like this with a company that was hosting my code repositories... CodeSpaces. Suddenly, they were gone and were impossible to get any answers from. Turns out that their Amazon account was held hostage by a hacker. They had failed to protect their accounts with 2FA and that was it. Gone, done, poof!
    ravnorodomwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 19
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,955member
    What complete a-holes. 

    netrox said:
    This is why home automation should be open sourced, all the way. This is not the first time nor it will be the last time. 

    With open source, we can keep maintain them and support them.
    Not really. There's plenty of good, non-open software in the world that a great many people depend on -- they needn't all become open-source projects.
    mike1watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 19
    bloggerblogbloggerblog Posts: 2,480member
    DAalseth said:
    You see this is one of my problems with a Home Automation system connected to the internet. A problem with a server, or in this case with the company, and poof, you have a house full of junk that’s worse than useless. My Honeywell thermostat won’t miss a beat even when the network is down. My old style motion sensor lights are the same. The remotes for the fans, and a few other things, don’t need a remote server to work. They just work. That’s not to mention my Schlage locks always work even if there’s no power. Just put in the key and turn to open. 
    They all still work manually, automation is an augmentation to the manual lock, door, light, thermostat. All these still work without internet 
    fahlmanseanjwatto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 19
    Looks like the Home Assistant Community is on top of it with some solutions 
    https://community.home-assistant.io/t/is-insteon-dead/412161
    chasmwatto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 19
    chasmchasm Posts: 3,410member
    This is terrible news for the customers who find themselves with low-to-no functioning equipment, but great news for the future of home automation -- in that the name Insteon is now synonymous with educating consumers to be sure that any "smart home" stuff they buy can work on at least a functional level without connection to any company's servers (or the internet, for that matter -- at least for short-term outages).

    It's also going to push people into buying smart home products from companies they believe are in it for the long haul, like Apple and (sadly) Amazon and Google. Neither of these companies is going anywhere for at least the rest of my life, but again -- home automation products that HAVE to connect to proprietary servers in order to function at all are a huge red flag (from any company) and should be avoided. Remember Insteon, and advise your family/friends/et al accordingly.
    edited April 2022 DAalsethwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 19
    If you want to have a truly secure and multivendor home automation system, I can only recommend having a look at KNX. It's an industry standard with about 400 companies supporting it, and it works without any servers or cloud connection. If you would like to add Homekit compatibility, just add a small Thinka device, and you are up and running.
    darkvaderwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 19
    fahlmanfahlman Posts: 740member
    DAalseth said:
    You see this is one of my problems with a Home Automation system connected to the internet. A problem with a server, or in this case with the company, and poof, you have a house full of junk that’s worse than useless. My Honeywell thermostat won’t miss a beat even when the network is down. My old style motion sensor lights are the same. The remotes for the fans, and a few other things, don’t need a remote server to work. They just work. That’s not to mention my Schlage locks always work even if there’s no power. Just put in the key and turn to open. 
    Your statements are misleading. My Nest Thermostat also doesn't miss a beat when the network is down. It still turns the heat or air conditioning on or off when the network is down, just like your Honeywell thermostat. I can dial it up if I'm cold, or down if it's too hot. My August smart lock also still unlocks my door when I insert the key and the door opens when I turn the handle.

    What I loose are the "smart features", such as the ability to unlock the door from the beach if mother-in-law stops by to let the dog out while I'm on vacation, or I can't turn the heat up before I leave the office for the day to make sure the house is cool when I get home from work. But these are things "stupid" device can't do either.
    mike1watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 19
    n0b0dyn0b0dy Posts: 9member
    There seems to be a plug-in for homebridge that supports local hub for Insteon. https://github.com/kuestess/homebridge-platform-insteonlocal#readme
    darkvaderwatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 19
    darkvaderdarkvader Posts: 1,146member
    netrox said:
    This is why home automation should be open sourced, all the way. This is not the first time nor it will be the last time. 

    With open source, we can keep maintain them and support them.

    THIS!!!!

    If it requires somebody else's computer (aka the cloud) to function, do not install it in your home.
  • Reply 15 of 19
    I abhor devices that won’t work without internet.  If I’m on the local network, it should work without needing to phone home.  And the only internet communication should be done through homekit’s apis to allow remote control access.  Apple’s services/apis aren’t going away anytime soon.  Another alternative would be to use an on-site vpn to access these devices.  From security and reliability perspectives, each vendor providing their own services is a nightmare.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 19
    I was going to post Rob Lilleness cell phone number and home address but then I saw these Kass Smart Dimmer Switch HS220 for $17 a piece that Amazon can deliver by 7am that don’t need a hub and I thought fuck him I’m better than that!
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 19
    j2fusionj2fusion Posts: 153member
    I do wish someone would buy their patent portfolio as their dual path networking (one path RF and the other path Powerline) seemed a better solution than even Thread. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 19
    welshdogwelshdog Posts: 1,903member
    Guess I'll be changing over to a Lutron Caseta system. I've got about 20 Insteon devices around the house controlled with Indigo software. Caseta integrates with Homekit which is probably the direction I will go.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 19
    Anyone with an Insteon brick can get a Homeseer hub and Insteon plugin and get their home automation back online
    watto_cobra
Sign In or Register to comment.