As more and more consumer electronics rely on Big Data to compile and analyze the information they need, ensuring those processes go smoothly as often as possible will become a goal of paramount importance for safety and security in the Internet of Things.
The alternative? Giving customers the cold shoulder, like Nest’s smart thermostats did last week.
The New York Times reported on a system-wide glitch that caused Nest devices nationwide to run down their batteries and subsequently shut down, often in the middle of the night. This left homeowners to wake up in chilled, wintry houses, and because many could not get their Nest devices back online, they were confronted with an eerie possibility in the coming future of an IoT world: When the devices that control all other crucial functions fail, what’s the average consumer to do?
In a statement to Builder, a Nest spokesman confirmed the issues and promised quick fixes to come.
“We are aware of a software bug impacting a small percentage of Nest Thermostat owners,” the spokesperson said. “In some cases, this caused the device to respond slowly or become unresponsive. We have released a software update that should improve this problem for the vast majority of impacted customers. On top of this, we are also planning additional fixes in the coming weeks to further improve performance. For customers who are still having problems, performing a manual restart of the thermostat will help. Nest customer support is also available 24/7 for assistance.”
While it’s difficult to heap too much blame on Nest for the malfunction — in the modern world, glitches can happen anywhere and at any time — there is something to be said for the timing of the hiccup. As IoT continues to grow, consumers will naturally need to be coddled as they grow more familiar with how the tech can change their lives. If they see that those changes are for the better, all well and good.
If those changes cause them to wake up in the middle of the night able to see their breath, odds are they won’t be so eager to adopt the latest and greatest gadgets.