photo RSMAtnWebAdRed13.jpg

Three of Tech’s Biggest Companies Want Your Smart Home Dollars—All of Them

COMPUTERS

By Charles Miller

There is yet another brand-new word added to the dictionary, one that recent events have brought to the fore.

“Abandonware” is computer software that is no longer distributed or fully supported by the company that made it. This also applies to any product that the company that made it is no longer able to support.

In recent months, it has been all over the tech news, those websites that non-techies avoid, that Google has perpetrated a money grab and forced many companies into a position where their software is now abandonware. For consumers this means that the shiny new smart-gizmo they bought and connected to the Internet via a smartphone app last year might not work as before.

This is all taking place in the Internet of Things (IoT), which includes Internet-connected devices such as light bulbs, doorbells, thermostats, garage door openers, security cameras, and, of course, Alexa, Sonos, and their ilk. These Internet-connected devices are becoming more commonplace in the modern home, and that forces all owners to confront the reality that the IoT is now being carved up into warring camps thanks in part to Google.

Regretfully, the homeowner who today wants to live in a “smart home” with IoT devices is being forced to choose an allegiance. Do you want an Amazon Alexa-, an Apple-, or a Google Nest-enabled home? Until recently, it did not seem to matter, and you could have all three, but that is not the case now.

These three competing companies are trying to carve out their own private fiefdoms so that when any consumer buys from one, he is forced to keep buying from the same company, not a competitor. This is not unlike computers. If you buy a Mac, you are committed to the Apple ecosystem. If you buy a PC, then you are locked in with Microsoft. It should not be that way with IoT devices such as thermostats and garage door openers, but now it is thanks to Amazon, Apple, and Google grabbing for as much of the market as they can and by refusing to adopt a common standard.

This unfortunate turn of events is sure to result in a loss of trust in these companies as it becomes clearer that consumers are being coerced into choosing one IoT ecosystem over another. This forces consumers who want home automation to plan things out based on which products can be used in their home and which cannot.

So, in the end, we come back to that word, “abandonware.” There is a growing list of smart-home accessories, including Aether’s Cone smart-speaker system, Haiku ceiling fans, NetGear’s VueZone security cameras, and the cute little Jibo robot, that have been reduced to abandonware because they are no longer supported by their original cloud services. Not all devices are completely useless when they become abandonware, but all are less functional or a bit more difficult to use than before.

 

Charles Miller is a freelance computer consultant, a frequent visitor to San Miguel since 1981, and now practically a full-time resident. He may be contacted at 044 415 101 8528 or email FAQ8 (at) SMAguru.com

 

Comments are closed

 photo RSMAtnWebAdRed13.jpg
 photo RSMAtnWebAdRed13.jpg

Photo Gallery

 photo RSMAtnWebAdRed13.jpg
Log in | Designed by Gabfire themes All original content on these pages is fingerprinted and certified by Digiprove