What happens when a smart home company closes?

“Insteon is the most reliable and easiest way to turn your home into a smart home,” says the website of the connected lighting company that just suddenly shut down, leaving many households (literally) in the dark.

According to Wired, Insteon quickly shut down last week without warning, meaning all of its products (light switches, wall keypads, dimmers, smart home sensors) could no longer connect to Insteon servers. Additionally, the company – which launched in 2005 – suspended its two user forums and wiped its leadership page from the web. As a result, its roughly 1.3 million users have found themselves looking for second-tier solutions.

“It shows the dangers of handing over control of your home to a solution that requires a cloud platform,” Ben Wood, chief analyst at CCS Insight, told Wired. “This is a decision that should not be taken lightly.”

The good news is that most businesses aren’t shutting down so quickly – and the smart home market itself is growing, and is expected to reach $33.66 billion in 2022, with annual growth of more than 11% .

The bad news is that every market is going to have casualties, so if you’re dumping all your smart home appliances into one company’s basket, you better watch its economic health. And Insteon isn’t the only recent victim; iHome shuts down earlier this month.

“What is this [failed smart home] businesses… have in common that they rely on a proprietary cloud server to deliver at least some of the experience customers have signed up for,” noted The Verge. “When the company’s business model changed and the cost of running that cloud was deemed unnecessary, consumers were left behind.”

Instead of a proprietary cloud server, several tech experts suggest a unified system to connect smart home devices; and for most of them, it’s Matter, an open-source connectivity standard created by more than 200 companies that doesn’t require a cloud service.

You are not one of these 200 companies that support Matter? Insteon and iHome.

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