The problem with the internet of things? If a server goes down, your gadget just stops working. That's what happened with Honeywell, the manufacturer of smart thermostats.
- Honeywell had a big server outage, and its smart, internet-connected thermostats were not working as intended.
- Customers were unable to control their heating via the Honeywell app as promised.
- However, Honeywell says that affected thermostats are still working to control heating and cooling — they're just under manual control, like a normal thermostat. It's the smart features that are on the fritz.
- A spokesperson said the issue lasted for only a few hours on Tuesday, but customers say there have been problems for weeks.
The internet-enabled thermostats made by $122 billion appliance giant Honeywell has been having server issues, leaving some customers unable to control their temperature via an app as advertised — and they're furious about it.
Customers flocked to Twitter to complain about technical issues that plagued Honeywell Home, the 112-year-old company's recent line of internet-connected devices. They said a major outage started several days ago, and problems have been ongoing for weeks. Those same customers have also complained about what they say is a lack of communication from Honeywell.
In a statement, Honeywell disputes those complaints, and says that the problems were only for a short period on Tuesday.
"Earlier today, a small number of customers using Honeywell’s Total Connect Comfort app experienced delays, which have been resolved. Their thermostats performed as designed locally, however the temperature could not be set remotely," said Honeywell spokesperson Bruce Eric Anderson in a prepared statement.
As Anderson says, the thermostats were still controllable if owners have physical access, but the ability to control the temperature remotely via app — the main selling point of these devices — had been offline. This can cause issues for people managing multiple properties, like landlords, or those customers with mobility issues.
The outage highlights one of the persistent problems with the so-called "internet of things:" The usefulness of products are often dependent on the reliability of internet services they have no control over — and when they crash, there's nothing people can do.
Despite Honeywell's assurances, one customer told Business Insider they first encountered issues four days ago, and had run into issues earlier in the month before that. There are also multiple Honeywell customers complaining on social media about technical problems before Tuesday.
Got a tip? Contact this reporter via Signal or WhatsApp at +1 (650) 636-6268 using a non-work phone, email at firstname.lastname@example.org, WeChat at robaeprice, or Twitter DM at @robaeprice. (PR pitches by email only, please.) You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop.