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Best Buy Is Dumbing Down Its Smart Home Devices

(Image credit: Insignia)

Best Buy has decided to discontinue its smart home device division, Insignia Connect. Starting November 6, the Insignia Connect app will be shuttered and a number of WiFi-enabled Insignia products—which include a smart plug, smart light switch, and a home security camera—will become eligible for reimbursement.

The announcement, shared discreetly to Best Buy’s Insignia website, doesn’t detail the reason for the company ending its Insignia Connect products. It simply states that the accompanying app used to control products like the Insignia WiFi Smart Plug and WiFi Freezer won’t work as of November 6.

Best Buy says those two devices, along with the WiFi Smart Light Switch and WiFi Camera are eligible to return in exchange for Best Buy credit. (Towards non-Insignia smart home devices, perhaps?) 

The affected products are no longer available for purchase, either.

Although the Insignia Connect app will cease to function, Best Buy says most of the products can still function manually. Its Insignia freezer will still keep ice cream cold. Its smart plugs and smart switches should retain previously designated routines. 

The only device that won’t work at all is the smart security camera. Without the app, the security camera cannot share recorded footage with a mobile device. If you own an Insignia WiFi Camera, consider returning the hardware for one of the best home security cameras we’ve tested. 

Fortunately, Best Buy carries gadgets from number of the smart home companies, so the store credit for its dumbed down devices could be used for replacements. But it's only accepting up to 10 returns per customer and won’t reimburse for installation fees. Either way, this sounds like a major headache for anyone who owns an Insignia Connect ecosystem.

Earlier this year Lowe similarly ended its own smart home platform. It directed Iris users to Samsung SmartThings, and offered Visa gift cards for the trouble.

Though it didn’t shut down its smart home system, Google migrated Works with Nest functions to Google Assistant this year, too. The move caused smart home companies to come up with quick solutions for enabling their products on a new platform. It also forced users to switch from Nest accounts to Google ones.

Best Buy’s Insignia Connect platform might not be the most popular smart home system, but it’s certainly concerning that a company can decide when your ecosystem of switches and lights will lose its smarts.