This hasn’t been a good week for the smart home as yet another connected device service seems to have disappeared. It appears anyone using Insteon products has faced a dead-end as the company’s cloud service has gone silent. So too has the company up to this point. What are Insteon device owners and service users to do?
The first thing is: If you have an Insteon hub, make sure you don’t factory reset it! Doing so can render your Insteon hub useless because it won’t be able to connect to the Insteon servers. There is currently only one way to current restore your hub and it requires one of our specific recommendations below. Even so, I’d be cautious and think twice before resetting an Insteon hub.
Image courtesy of InsteonNext is to consider one of two options: Either plan to replace your hardware or try to integrate your current devices with another platform. I’ll focus on the latter here because if you’re going to swap out your Insteon system, that will certainly solve your issue. Well, it will effectively remove your issue since you won’t be relying on Insteon for anything.
It’s worth noting that Universal Devices sells an Insteon hub that relies mostly on local control. The only cloud usage is for integrations such as voice assistants. It’s a $259 purchase but would let you reuse your current Insteon gear. I used one of these back in 2010 and it was rock solid for me with my Insteon devices.
So what integration options do you have with your current gear?
It’s going to vary by your specific devices, sensors, and other hardware of course, but there are some reasonably good choices.
You could switch over to Home Assistant, which I recently just featured as a result of the latest software update. It’s really good. You’ll need a Raspberry Pi and the free Home Assistant software, which will become the new “brains” of your smart home. Once you’re all set up, you can follow these directions from Reddit to integrate your supported Insteon gear. It’s a relatively simple process. In fact, that’s one of the aspects I pointed out with the newest software: Home Assistant setup is finally a user-friendly, quick process. Even the Insteon integration setup appears to be straightforward.
A similar solution would be to purchase a HOOBS box, which stands for HomeBridge Out Of the Box. This is another self-managed hub system that I’ve reviewed in the past, although it’s geared more towards Apple HomeKit integration. However, the company does have an Insteon integration that it’s currently touting as a result of the current situation.
The integration is a plugin, which you can view the details of here, and is similar to how Home Assistant connects with Insteon. A HOOBS hub costs $229.99 but if you have compatible hardware, such as Raspberry Pi, you can get the software for a suggested $10 donation. HOOBS currently has more than 2,000 plugins so aside from your Insteon gear, you’ll have a wide range of support for other devices.
Those who have one of three specific Insteon products can also opt for OpenHAB software. You’ll need an Insteon PowerLinc Modem (PLM), a legacy Insteon Hub 2242-222, or the current 2245-222 Insteon Hub.
If you do have one of these, you can download the OpenHAB software for free. Like the other options, it can run on a Raspberry Pi. However, you can also choose to run it on a Windows PC, macOS, Linux, or a Docker container.
The folks at HomeSeer recently touted their Insteon compatibility and provide full details on the integration process. The company offers a HomeSeer smart hub with support for Z-Wave, various digital assistants, and hundreds of smart home products. Best of all, the price is only $139.99.
Finally is the $109.95 Hubitat hub, which I took for a spin a ways back. I’ve noticed that the hub has been upgraded and updated over time with more functionality since I last looked. And it’s more local-control oriented compared to some of its peers. While there isn’t native Insteon support, there is a community plugin available for Insteon devices. Hubitat also works with Zigbee, Z-Wave, Bluetooth, and WiFi devices.
Clearly, there is a range of options to manage this bad situation. And your decision will likely depend on how much you’ve already invested in the Insteon product line.
If it were me and I only had a few Insteon devices, I’d lean towards using a completely different platform. I’m all in on HomeKit, mainly because we use iOS and because the connected devices we use are rock solid when it comes to stability. I also appreciate the security aspects Apple bakes in, particularly with their connected camera options.
Were we Android users, I’d lean towards Google Home followed by Amazon Alexa as a platform, although SmartThings is still a viable and good option. Samsung no longer makes its own hub hardware but Aeotec has filled that gap if you want a new hub for $124.99.
On the other hand, if I had invested hundreds and hundreds into Insteon gear, I’d likely try one of the above-mentioned self-managed hub options. It’s a less expensive way to keep using the old devices and given that most of the solutions are open-source software, I’d expect them to be around for years to come.
Updated at 10:20 am to add information about restoring an Insteon hub.