Nest recently announced an immediate halt to all sales of their smoke and carbon monoxide sensor, the Nest Protect. This after it was discovered that the wave-to-silence feature (touted for its convenience) could inadvertently be activated, silencing the alarm, in the event of an actual fire. Not good.
There are conflicting reports as to how exactly this feature was discovered, but that is of little consequence. The more important debate taking place is what this recall means for the future of connected devices. Many are citing this event as a warning that we should not to put too much trust in our Smart Home, with the implication being that the connected nature of the Nest Protect is somehow at fault for this potentially fatal bug.
But the fact is this wave-to-silence feature could have been built into any smoke alarm, connected or not. What is significant about this bug being discovered on a connected device is the manner in which Nest is able to deal with the recall (read:Efficiently). A recent post over on SlashGear by Chris Davies drives this point home well.
Imagine the ramifications of this bug being discovered on traditional, "dumb" smoke detectors. One need not think hard to picture the nightmare logistics. Tracking down existing owners, most of whom are not likely to have registered their product to begin with, would be huge task on it's own. And beyond that, the manufacturer would be stuck relying on each and every one of their customers to take action in order to resolve the issue.
This recall is not good news for Nest, nor is it for the existing owner base. But the fact that Nest can reach out and instantly disable this feature on every one of their deployed devices is hugely significant. And this is due strictly to the fact that the Nest Protected is a connected device. The weight of that ought not to be lost in the noise surrounding this recall.
The Internet of Things is here to stay. And we should all be thankful.