Connected and smart home technology is one of the fastest-growing markets in consumer electronics. From connected LED bulbs and locks to thermostats and smoke detectors, the home is getting smarter. One of the biggest issues that smarthome owners face is the compatibility, or more often, the lack thereof, between products. But, if you stay within an ecosystem, there is another problem that pops up: quickly changing technology.
This week, Philips brought that problem back to the forefront with the announcement that the first generation Philips Hue Bridge is about to lose support. That means that many of the features that people purchased the product for are about to go away. In the case of the Philips Hue Bridge, the loss comes because of the disconnection from the Philips Hue cloud services. According to the company,
After April 2020 no software updates will be made available for the Hue Bridge v1 and compatibility with our online services will be terminated at that time. The Hue Bridge v1 can still be controlled locally via the dedicated Philips Hue Bridge v1 app.
Those cloud services are what make things like remote access possible. Without the Bridge working fully, owners will no longer have access to their home devices when out of range of the Bridge itself. Thanks to the fact that the original Philips Hue mobile app is still in the store, at least owners will have the ability to control their devices from inside their home. This is an important distinction because the original Philips Hue devices communicated with Zigbee, meaning that you can't connect directly with your phone.
This isn't the first time that relying on cloud services for a smarthome product has ended in disappointment. Last year, Johnson Controls discontinued a large collection of features for their GLAS smart thermostat. The removed Cortana from the device, which took with her the ability to use voice commands directly on the device. It also ended with the integrations with Google Home and Alexa not working well anymore.