A recent server outage with Insteon’s cloud management has left many people unable to manage their smarthome devices
Those of you who have Insteon smart home equipment may have noticed that you are having some trouble managing your Insteon hub via your app. I thought I would shed a little bit of light on what’s happened to you and what you can do about it.
Recently Insteon’s cloud-based management servers have gone offline. It’s not looking like they will be coming back. This has left a lot of people struggling to make changes to their smart home systems.
For clarity, if you have an Insteon Hub, your schedules and timers that control your lighting and other devices will still work. The Insteon Hub is connected to your home network and can still manage your devices. Where the issue lies however is with changing your schedules or utilizing manual control via the Insteon app.
Folks who have heard me caution against utilizing Internet Of Things devices and cloud management in the past may recall my tales of possible issues due to Internet connectivity or the possibility of losing support without warning. Accompanied by a handful of examples where these issues have arisen.
Unfortunately, this is a case where those concerns have become reality again.
With the Insteon servers offline, your Insteon app can no longer connect to their cloud services which, in turn, connects to your Insteon hub. Without that vital connection from the Internet your Insteon Hub can no longer receive updates and new information.
There are a few options still open to you. All of your Insteon devices are still functioning and Insteon is still supported by some other management platforms. This means you will not need to scrap all of your smart home gear and start over from scratch.
If you don’t often use manual controls, and don’t currently have need to make any changes, your system should continue to function normally since your scheduled events are still stored on your Insteon Hub. This buys you some time to find another solution or perhaps you are happy enough to let it continue to function as is.
Now that you know you’re not entirely abandoned. Here’s what you can do.
This means it’s not all bad news. I’m not Mr. Doom and Gloom today.
If you really would like to regain manual control and get started tweaking your system again you do have some options for other management controllers that will support Insteon.
Should you have an Amazon Alexa, you can manage Insteon equipment locally and minimize the need for a cloud service with a few adjustements.
If you’re no longer enamoured with the idea of a cloud service managing your devices you can migrate to a new system. This involves implementing a new hub, for all intents and purposes, that can manage your devices locally without requiring Internet contact.
Home Assistant is a free and open source application that will let you manage your devices the way you want, all using your own computer. You will need this computer to run in your home all the time, but you can use an existing Windows, Apple, or Linux (Yay!) computer. If you have concerns about power usage, Home Assistant can run on a Raspberry Pi to give you a very small, very low power management hub that’s all your own.
My weapon of choice in any automation scenario remains Homeseer. While it isn’t free like Home Assistant it is extremely powerful with many plugins and add-ons to let it perform an astonishing number of tasks. Homeseer can be installed directly on a Windows computer, or a Raspberry Pi if you like to build your own toys. As with Home Assistant the computer it gets installed on will need to be running 24/7 in order to manage your home.
You can also purchase Homeseer Control Hubs that are about as close as you will come to a drop-in replacement for your ailing Insteon Hub. Homeseer offers several controllers from the Windows 10 based HomeTroller Plus and HomeTroller Pro to the diminutive HomeTroller Pi which, you guessed it, come pre-built on a Raspberry Pi.
It’s important to remember that you’ve not been left entirely in the dark. Your Insteon devices still function. All that has changed for you is the means by which you manage your devices. It is uncertain if Insteon products will still be available in future. By implementing a multi-protocol automation system, like Homeseer, you’ll be able to pick and choose the protocols you with to automate your home with. It’s worthwhile looking into Z-Wave and Zigbee if you’d like something less proprietary.
With a little bit of learning and some hands-on time you can be up and running again with an all new system that works just as well, or better, than before.
If you have any questions about making any of these changes, as always you can contact a helpful tech at email@example.com.