CUSTOMERS of electronics manufacturer Netatmo were left freezing yesterday, after the Netatmo smart heaters they’d purchased stopped working.
The fault was caused by a server outage, which prevented people from being able to control their heaters using their smartphones or the company’s website.
“We develop groundbreaking, intuitive and beautifully-designed connected consumer electronics,” declares the website of Netatmo, a company based in France that produces a range of smart devices for the home, including smart security cameras and thermostats.
However, while such gadgets should enable people to raise the temperature of their homes simply by tapping on their smartphones, something went horribly wrong yesterday.
Scores of customers flocked to Twitter to complain that their Netatmo apps weren’t working, and that they couldn’t heat their homes as a result.
“Is there a way to control the boiler even if the servers are down, it’s freezing at the moment,” tweeted one unhappy customer, where he was joined by many other people, all similarly perplexed and cold.
As Netatmo explained on Twitter, the problems were caused by a server failure, which prevented the smart thermostats and their apps from connecting with each other.
“[W]e faced a situation last night: some of our servers were no longer responding, and the servers that continued to operate could not support the number of requests. Our teams have worked on this issue to ensure that this situation does not happen again. Have a great day.”
The sheer number of online complaints received by company highlights the fragility of smart devices, which suddenly become dumb as soon as their internet connections are removed.
However, as Netatmo also pointed out on Twitter, the lack of an internet connection doesn’t mean that smart thermostats stop working completely, and that people have to sit in their homes wearing their overcoats.
“[W]hen the servers don’t respond, your Smart Thermostat works just like a ‘usual’ thermostat, it respects the schedule and you can increase or decrease the temperature manually,” the company posted in response to a query.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time a smart device failure has left droves of customers unhappy.
Back in 2016, a botched software update caused Nest thermostats to shut down inexplicably and become unusable, leaving thousands of Americans in a similarly cold and disgruntled state.
And while it wasn’t quite as serious, Amazon’s personal assistant, Alexa, developed a bug earlier this year that caused her to randomly laugh, leaving owners of Amazon’s various smart speakers more than a little spooked out.
Have you been on the wrong end of any smart device failures? Let us know in the comments.
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