U.S. consumer electronic retail giant Best Buy has discontinued its smart home device division and shut down the service. On November 6th, all Insignia-branded smart home devices lost their smart ability.U.S. consumer electronic retail giant Best Buy has discontinued its smart home device division and shut down the service. On November 6th, all Insignia-branded smart home devices lost their smart ability.
Affected devices include smart power plugs, light switches, smart home freezers and Wi-Fi security cameras. Most products listed above would still work, without any smart features.
For instance, smart light switches cannot be controlled by a smartphone anymore, and homeowners need to turn the lights on and off manually; the freezer is still capable of freezing and displaying the temperature, but users are unable to adjust temperatures via an app.
The one exception, is the NS-SP1XM8 smart plug with metering due to it still being able to work with Apple’s Home app via Apple HomeKit. Also the Wi-Fi security cameras are incapable of functioning as intended, by no longer acting as a security device they’ve become more of an ornament. The Insignia Connect app has also been shut down.
How did Best Buy inform their customers?
Best Buy shared the news on the Insignia website, which give no reason for the termination, only stating the date when the service will be terminated. The affected products are no longer available for purchase.
The retail company has allowed customers who own Insignia products to return up to 10 devices per customer for store credit. Although these customers could theoretically use the store credit for smart home products from other brands at Best Buy, it’s still an unnecessary headache for them.
Best Buy isn’t the only retail company who stepped into the smart home platform market that has now pulled out of that field. Lowe, a retail company focusing on home improvements, discontinued its own smart home platform earlier this year. The company, on the other hand, migrated Iris’ system users into Samsung’s SmartThings and offered Visa gift cards as compensation.
The discontinued announcements have shown the instability of smart home platforms. Best Buy’s Insignia might not be the most popular smart home platform. However, a certain amount of users rely on it to power their smart devices in their home’s ecosystem. When a user selects a smart home platform to rely on and someday the company decides to just close down the ecosystem and its service, then the end-user’s way of living will be significantly affected and the trust of smart home ecosystems will be destroyed.
For a company, if the service shut-down becomes a must-do, then they should think how they could help existing customers migrate their devices to another platform, this would be the best approach from a company, in order to maintain customer's trust.