Home automation installation services or even contractors would also be cautious about Nest.
There's a lot of room for a vendor to come in with open products, a pledge to maintain that open-ness, and decent integration to really take over the home automation market. I really feel like all the existing products are too proprietary to be of any interest to us home automation geeks.
But then the open source hardware stuff is almost entirely limited to 'build it yourself' boards. And sure, I could buy some Arduino and Raspberry Pi hardware (I actually have a lot of it lying around) and spend a bunch of time working on it, but then it wouldn't be a nice wall unit like my switches I have.
There's a huge open space here. It's a market just asking for someone to step in and make products.
I think a lot more could be done to sunset products gracefully, and with consideration for the paying customer. We'll be ceasing updates for this in a year, we'll keep the server active for x years. Be aware there will be no security fixes. Like the phased EoL of Windows releases.
I think quite a few examples of smart things are getting dangerously close to, or already passing, the line that would fit the legal definition of unreasonably short. SaaS only? We need to wait for case law and legislation to catch up I think.
Eighteen months life, then intentionally break your $300 product, with only 6 weeks notice? I think it would make an interesting test case with reasonable chance of success.
I trust Google very little as far as sunsetting their many releases.
As a consumer - "hey too bad you didn't want to make a business of this but you suckered me in with your shiny new fangled thing and I gave you money for it - I didn't give you permissions to then decide that you didn't make enough money so now you're going to take your ball and go home leaving me with an expensive door stop"
They went bust or are closing? OK that sucks, but it happens. Can't really be helped. Even if it's a hardware thing it's going to happen if there's a server-side component rather than entirely stand alone. Best case release some code, specs or open source to enable some hackery to keep hardwareThing viable.
We got bought, OldThing is boring so it's closing in 4 weeks, we're truly excited to be working with FaceGoog on the future of NewThing. Seriously not ok. People should be writing Medium articles about it. And yelling.
Because applying SaaS business model to hardware is simply fucked up. Also, for many of those products one has to expend significant effort to make them not hackable by end-users, so if a company decides to make a proprietary, cloud-dependent device that then gets bricked when they move on, it only shows they actually worked hard to fuck their customers. Not to mention that in many of those products the cloud is not needed for any sensible reason and is in fact bad engineering - it's included only to make more money off people.
Sadly, as long as customers play ball this nonsense will continue - the market sells what people buy.
Essentially, the law demands that no matter what you do with the software, the product won't malfunction (not just "not explode", it needs to work). Obviously that means no software that isn't made by the same engineering team ... also once the hardware is out that means no changes to the software unless someone does make their fridge explode. Even if they change the temperature 50 times a minute with the door open that can't affect the lifetime of the product. Needless to say, you block this in the software.
Unless courts start putting responsibility for the things people do with their own hardware on those people, this won't be forthcoming.
Also, there are "hackable" products on the market, e.g. the OpenWRT routers. Those still seem to be allowed.
OpenWRT routers have been in the legal clear zone for a while (due to FCC exception for the WiFi bands), but that's changing 
 http://www.cnx-software.com/2015/07/27/new-fcc-rules-may-pre... (FCC page https://apps.fcc.gov/oetcf/kdb/forms/FTSSearchResultPage.cfm... )
People are somewhat confused about this. For instance you can change the firmware of smartphones, no ? Well, no, you can't. You see, what people call a cell phone contains a 100% locked down actual cell phone, and a PDA that's completely independent (and in some cases, more than one locked down system. E.g. NFC is it's own locked down system as well). These are fun things, they're smaller and smaller. In the last 2 years the actual cellphone, everything except the antenna fits in 0.5cm x 0.5cm x 0.1cm package that actually contains multiple chips. These things are connected to the audio devices of the phone, and therefore have sole control over what comes out of the speaker and where the microphone goes. They also have a serial network interface these days for 3G/4G, and the sim connects directly to these chips.
So technically android (or ios, or windows phone, or blackbery, ...) does not run on cellphones, it runs on the PDAs that we insert into cellphones. Therefore it does not need approval.
It also means that Android/IOS do not actually control (for example) the audio on smartphones, or whether a call is answered. Or whether, when asked for the location of the phone or the contents of SMS'es, or to call out and send out the audio the microphone receives, whether those requests are answered. Android/ios would never see those requests (though you may find the microphone suddenly doesn't work anymore in apps). And yes, this works even when there is no sim in the phone.
Whilst there are cellphones that don't provide law enforcement (I wonder if it's only law enforcement though) with these features, they're older models and are getting phased out. If you read this site, I bet your phone has these features. And like all features you don't control, you wouldn't like them if you knew what they were.
Doing this kills ALL future business of this type. Who would buy such a device knowing this could happen?
Unless they don't plan on making consumer appliances anymore.
Seriously though. Highlighting the ridiculousness of the current approach to IoT (including laughing off startups in this area that follow the SaaS/cloud model with hardware) is probably the only reasonable way of this mess.
This has become a key thing that I look for when buying new products. If the product relies on the cloud for a feature that I think should be entirely offline, the product will be immediately returned and a negative review will be left on the resellers site.
A perfect example was the early version of the Lockitron device. It required cloud access but had a one time payment. Based on that information alone I could not justify the purchase to myself even just to play with because it's a bad business model.
They then add insult to injury by making me sync via a dongle /connected cable to my laptop; at which point I could just as easily sync to a desktop client vs their otherwise "disconnected cloud".
But the fact that they force you to use their servers to store your data so that they can turn around and sell it, frankly I hope they get sued for something. Anything.
There should be a law against selling customer data without the expressed consent of the customer whos data is being sold, per purchase. Even if the company is acquired.
I still use the Audiotron every day. Still haven't found anything better.
Turning my lights on and off? That has to work without internet access.
Logging my heart rate et all, ala fitbit? Nope, I should be able to use a server of my choosing, requiring that I use cloud servers for something I paid a one time fee for is an instant deal breaker.
A service that logged all of my access times and determined whether or not I was home based on the result? I would prefer that be run from my own server even optionally with a DNS hijack, but I would understand the need for the cloud in this situation.
Most "connected" devices simply have lesser or limited functionality when services they are connected to disappear.
It also comes down to Ownership. When I buy a device I expect it work until it gives up its electronic ghost. When I subscribe to a service I expect it to work for the month I paid for.
Ofcourse I would have never bought that hub in the first place because I require my products at a minimum to have a open API that can be used for Compatibility later.
Wall Garden should be resisted by consumers, it is sad most people do not even look at that, hopefully cases like this will push consumers to DEMAND manufacturer have open and inter operable systems
Not true, that is only the case for devices where the company wants to have exclusive control over the connection and resulting data, There are all kinds of open devices sold where I can connect to servers run by community, myself, or the company (many provide the cloud service and the device separately, so I buy the device then i have to buy a monthly service as well)
>Should Connected Hardware companies/startups disclose this upfront when making the sale? i.e. say "Your $199 purchase includes a free license to our software for x years."
That should be the minimum disclosure requirement.
I have old phones that can't make telephone calls, but they still work fine as connected devices via wifi. They still work as cameras, mp3 players, gaming machines etc.
What is X?
For traditional desktop software and standalone apps, the expectation is not different at all. I still own a lot of old pc games that I bought at some point and play occasionally and would find it extremely irritating if they suddenly stopped to function without any acceptable reason.
Recently, things may be changing with mandatory auto-updating, subscription models and many apps just being front-ends for server-side processes. But as far as I know, most of those changes are pushed by vendors/developers and accepted by consumers as a necessary evil (if at all). It's not at all that customers would suddenly expect something different.
Have little to no customer service, even when money is involved, letting products stagnate for years and frequently pulling the plug on services.
Which is scary, because this hardware is dependent on Google-owned software and services.
I'd say any home automation installer should be very wary of Silicon Valley-based automation "services", and focus on robust products which have been available for a long time.
My Hue lights work without an internet connection, and can be controlled from a device on my local network. And they are also made by an old-school company, Phillips.
They probably hope the guy will find the next big thing. That's more Google working internally as a VC in markets to be. Not that I think it is alright from such an established business like Google.