A few weeks ago, something very strange happened in the connected home world - Insteon vanished. The company made no public announcement and gave no warning - it just disappeared. Now, a small group of dedicated Insteon users have banded together and purchased the company, ousting the previous management and relaunching the service.
The way the company folded was not normal. A service that users across the globe relied on to use their products suddenly stopped working. Initially, it was assumed to be a technical issue, but the company's service status showed that all was good. After a while, users began to contact the company looking for support. Unfortunately for these users, there was no response - not from email, Twitter, or even the phone. And still no change to the status page on the company website.
Eventually, the company finally released a statement on the situation, saying that the company had run out of funds and was forced to shut down. They explained that they had been working with a potential buyer and those negotiations had recently fallen apart, leading to the company shutdown.
The problem with the way things went was that no one had any warning of what was coming. Also, no technology was released to the world through open sourcing or a transfer to another entity. Instead, they simply let millions of products go dark without any warning. Fortunately, there were existing open-source products that were able to resurrect these items, but it required some knowledge beyond standard consumer knowledge.
This week, just as mysteriously as it had stopped working, Insteon technology started working again. Once again, there was no direct communication with customers about the return of the service - it just happened. However, unlike the shutdown, the reasoning was a positive one. In this case, the unannounced return was because the new owners wanted to get the system back up and running as soon as possible for users - so they started there.
The new owners did eventually published a blog post explaining what had happened - both with the sudden return and with the new ownership in general. The new CEO, Ken Fairbanks, said,
We are a small group of passionate Insteon users that have successfully acquired Insteon. Like many of you, our homes are powered by Insteon's amazing dual-mesh technology and highly configurable products.
Going forward we are committed to responsibly re-building the Insteon business. Our commitment to you, as part of the Insteon family, is to listen, communicate and be as transparent as possible in everything we do.
There is little more information about the future of the platform, however. The reason for the shutdown was because of financial issues. What are the new Insteon Technologies team planning to do to address those issues? How long can they sustain under the new management? Unfortunately, we don't know just yet, but if money was as big of a concern as we were led to believe, then it won't be long before we find out.