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Smart Home

Will Smart Home Brands With Proprietary Tech Die Like Insteon?

By Kevin Castle

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Insteon was a smart home brand that was built on proprietary technology. Now, they are no longer in business. Will other brands like Wyze suffer the same fate?

Let me be clear, I love Wyze. I have been with them since their first Wyze Cam. They really do make good products at a great price. I mean seriously, they disrupted the smart home industry in a good way by making smart home tech affordable for a lot of people. 

Proprietary is outdated

Wyze though does have 1 major flaw. They operate within their own proprietary ecosystem. This is just an outdated way I think to do business, in hopes of locking customers in. It worked in the past when there was not much competition, but now, the market is full of tech for your sexy smart home. 

Let’s take the recent death of Insteon for instance. They had really good products that performed well. But, they operated under their own proprietary ecosystem. Now, look at them, dead, shut down, out of business. At the time of this writing, it still is not known why they shut down. As of now, it’s only theories, and the biggest one is that with the new standard MATTER almost here, it would have been the nail in the coffin for Insteon. So, they jumped ship before that happened. 

What will happen with other brands that operate in the same manner? I use Wyze as an example because they are extremely popular in the smart home space, so I’d hate for them to suffer the same fate and go bottom-up.

We do have 1 good thing though, Wyze is part of the Zigbee Alliance, or now the new name, “Connectivity Standard Allianace” (CSA). This is really good as it shows Wyze is interested maybe in a more open standard for their hardware. But where do they really stand on this? Are they actively looking at data to make serious decisions for their future?

I had to find out so I decided to ask that very question and see if I can get a response. Guess what, Wyze responded with some very good news. Below is the response from Wyze’s official Twitter account;

“Hey there! We have joined the alliance and are currently evaluating the specification and the SDK. However, the SDK does not have full maturity yet so we cannot fully assess what it would require to put Matter on our existing devices and into our upcoming devices.

We definitely see the potential though and are excited about what Matter could bring to the industry. Smart Home users are our users! However, we want to be sure that this is done right, so we’re moving very carefully at this point before making any moves. Please feel free to keep an eye out on our newsletter and social media channels for more info as it comes along. :)”

wyze matter standard sdk review

This response was a little surprising but in a good way. With Matter on the horizon and Wyze actively digging into the SDK (Software Development Kit) of the Matter standard, I think I can say we may see a more open Wyze. What does this mean? Well, those of you, like me, who want to run your smart home on a local level and not rely on the cloud or a certain brand hub and products, will have that ability to do so. Being able to use Wyze products in Home Assistant, SmartThings, etc without having to use code, adding custom device handlers, and whatnot. The products would just work. 

It’s still too early to make any concrete assumptions right now, but this is still great news for fans of Wyze. If brands want to survive in this field, they need to open up and get rid of the proprietary crap. I honestly believe they would make more profit by allowing their hardware to work with other third-party tech, like smartthings and home assistant. We will see though, the future is bright!

Wyze exploring MATTER and how to implement it into their current and future devices shows they are looking towards the future and not following the proprietary path of Insteon. We are excited!