Buying into a smart home platform is all well and good – but what about when the service goes down? Well, Samsung SmartThings customers in the US have had first-hand experience of that this week, after the platform started experiencing outages on Monday.
The problems have left smart home devices including smart bulbs, thermostats, cameras, door locks and garage doors offline and useless, highlighting just how fragile the connected home can be.
The outage started at 2PM ET and continued through to Tuesday, but have now been resolved.
The issue affected the SmartThings Cloud, and it’s fair to say that customers were less than impressed. The response of SmartThings, which according to Twitter referred people to a status page that left hours between updates, was labelled an “embarrassment”.
@smartthings Your service has been down for a day, you keep saying to watch the status page for updates, but you haven’t updated the status page during the past 14 HOURS of downtime. Stop pointing people to the status page for updates if you’re not going to post updates.
— JamesDVB (@JamesDVB) March 13, 2018
SmartThings responded to the problem by telling The Ambient:
"Yesterday [Tuesday] around 12:30 PM PT, SmartThings began experiencing capacity issues with the SmartThings cloud, which led to an outage that impacted US users’ ability to log in to the SmartThings mobile apps and control devices. These issues intermittently persisted until 9:16 PM PT, at which time the root cause of the outage was addressed, and users were able to access the SmartThings apps and control networked devices," a spokesperson said.
That doesn't quite seem to tally with the experience of users, and perhaps this is symptomatic of the lack of communication which seems to have irked users.
Whichever way you split it, it's only a small outage, and from the handful of angry replies to SmartThings' tweets, it perhaps points to a lack of serious adoption of the platform. But it poses questions about how we rely on the stability and security of cloud platforms for our homes – and what happens should those systems fail.