Is your Insteon smart home system down? I’m getting reports from dozens of Insteon users that as of Friday their smart home hubs have stopped working. So far, none of them have heard from the company, and Insteon’s Twitter account hasn’t been updated since June 2021. I reached out to Rob Lilleness, the president and chairman of Smartlabs, the company that owns Insteon and have not yet heard back.
However, Lilleness no longer lists Smartlabs/Smarthome/Insteon anywhere on his LinkedIn profile and other members of the Insteon management team have also appeared to decamp Smartlabs based on their LinkedIn profiles. Mike Nunes, the former CIO at Smartlabs lists his role at Insteon/Smartlabs ending in April 2022. Dan Cregg, the chief research officer lists his role at Smartlabs as ending in 2022. Matt Kowalec the president and COO lists his role at Smartlabs as ending in 2020; and Tom Carter, the CIO doesn’t list his role in the company at all.
Smartlabs is a combination of smart home brands that include Insteon and Nokia Smart Lighting, which Smartlabs purchased last year. It also owns the smarthome.com web site where consumers can buy Insteon gear. An email to Smartlabs’ corporate office in Irvine, Calif. has not been returned and a call to the listen phone number returns a message saying Verizon could not complete the call and asking me to check the number before trying again. Multiple tries return the same message each time.
Lilleness is a former executive at Nokia who lives in Seattle and invested $7.3 million in the Smartlabs business before taking on his leadership role at the company. At the time he expressed optimism that Insteon’s proprietary technology could become the underpinning of a big shift to smarter homes. However, the adoption of proprietary technologies such as Insteon didn’t pan out as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Zigbee prevailed. And now, with the looming launch of the Matter smart home interoperability standard, Insteon’s core tech will be even further marginalized.
However, this means thousands of Insteon users, who I know as a vocal and pretty satisfied bunch, will be left with gear that doesn’t work. Insteon does provide local control of its smart lights and nodes through hubs in the home, but there are plenty of cloud components to get the system to talk to Alexa or Google. Last year, an outage in Insteon’s AWS cloud frustrated users for several days.
With the current outage, Insteon’s app doesn’t work which means users will be hard pressed to change their device settings and add new gear. I’m hopeful to see if the folks over at Home Assistant or Hubitat can perhaps help stranded Insteon users transfer over to their platforms. It might be possible.