HomeTech Takeaways: SmartThings Issues Apology for Critical Service Disruptions

Failure Results in Limited Access to the Platform's New Smart Home Monitor Security Service

A SmartThings Developer Advocate posted a topic on the company's community page this week titled "UPDATE: Recent SmartThings User Experience & Platform Performance". His post outlined a critical degradation in the recent performance of the platform. The root cause of the issue is cited as "high load on the database and messaging infrastructure". As a result many SmartThings users were left with limited access to programmed routines, various SmartApps, and most critically Smart Home Monitor, the company's new security initiative. 

Without getting too nerdy, the remainder of his post goes on to explain that "Moving forward, [SmartThings] will continue to expand our database cluster and prioritize rewriting and optimizing our data access library to allow us to scale at a higher level." Naturally he closes the post with an apology to users for the inconvenience, and an urging to work with the support team as they diligently focus on restoring stability.

The Takeaway: 

One of our listeners was kind of enough to tip me off about this story. At the time of this publishing I've been unable to find any other reporting on it, which strikes me as surprising. It seems the SmartThings online community would agree. At the time of this writing the post acknowledging the issue has garnered some 350 replies. This in only about 4 days. 

Not surprisingly the SmartThings community was quick to pry for greater clarity as to the real cause of the issue. What would be behind such a sudden, and unexpected spike in server traffic? And more importantly why wasn't the platform leveraging readily available technologies that would have allowed it to scale automatically, and without issue, to a surge in demand?

In a world where everything, including our home security systems, is headed to the cloud, this story serves as a great reminder that local control / processing still has its place in the smart home. In the words of one angry user: "It would be nice if [SmartThings] focused on local processing and not just selective local processing. Then we wouldn't rely so heavily on [their] servers." It's hard to argue with that...

Check out the SmartThings community post here...

- Jason Griffing