A CAUTIONARY TALE for those dabbling in the world of Smart Home, as one US supplier is about to kill all its devices at the server.
Insignia is Best Buy's smart home brand and has been offering a range of devices including Google Assistant alternatives, as well as the usual bulbs, sockets and sensors. We got our mitts on an Insignia clock-radio last year and it appears to be a rebrand of what's sold here as Polk.
Although Best Buy is no longer trading in the UK, listen up, because it could happen to anyone here with another brand.
You see, despite still being on sale as recently as September, Best Buy announced that it will be switching off Insignia's servers on December 1st. Upshot - all your Insignia Smart Devices bork into Insignia Dumb Devices.
They'll still work in a dumb way, but considering that one of those products was an internet-connected Fridge, customers are understandably annoyed. Fridges ain't cheap. Smart ones doubly so.
Just to add salt into the wound, Best Buy hasn't even explained itself. The announcement stands with no reasoning. When fellow US retailer Lowe's did the shutdown-thing on its own Iris range in 2017, it at least showed its working.
Best Buy is offering affected customers a partial refund(!) but only if your product is up and working and linked to the Insignia Connect app. Oh yes, and you kept the receipt of course.
Refunds can be requested online - but only for up to ten products - those who've done the whole house will need to speak to Best Buy customer service.
This story is a warning and a reminder that in the digital age, we're all slaves to the whims of clouds and their owners. Whether its Pebble watches, Microsoft ebooks, Ultraviolet movies or Mario Kart Wii online play - so much of our tech is only as good as the cloud that powers it. If that goes, the functionality goes and quite often, landfill gets a tasty snack. µ
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