Smart home company Wink had a bit of a bump in the roat last week when an errant software upgrade accidentally brickeed a fair number of users' home automation hubs. According to Engadget, the root cause was an expired authentication certificate, which at least suggests that the company's taking a sane approach to security (indeed, their original announcement about the problem explained that the hubs were made to become "so secure that it is unable to connect to the Wink servers."
Fortunately for Wink users, the company was able to recover the majority of the devices with another software update. Unfortunately, it does seem that some of the hubs were well and truly bricked, so the company has offered not only to repair/replace them, but is also giving inconvenienced owners a $50 credit at the company store. Home Depot has pulled the devices from their stores for now, but they'll presumably be back on the shelves once the devices get updated and confidence in the company is reinstilled. This does raise a couple of interesting questions, though, chief among them:
- Do Home Depot and other big box stores pushing home automation, etc. have plans in place for supporting the customers that come back to them when something goes wrong?
- Will Wink and others that have cloud subscription models wind up escrowing some or all of that money to handle the occasional screw up, or will it simply be a new cost of business going forward/
- Will companies like Wink have to share some of their subscription money with their retail partners to help them offset the damage that occurs when system-problems happen?
- Doesn't Wink test their stuff before deploying?