One of the major downsides of an IoT system provided by another company is that it will eventually die out. Companies can’t afford to maintain a service forever and will eventually let it go.
Belkin made a shock announcement when they stated they will no longer support their Wemo NetCam product. However, this was not a simple removal of support; Belkin actually shut down the servers for the NetCam on May 29th.
Wemo NetCam has been around for seven years now, which means it has a lot of experience underneath its belt already. As such, this isn’t a cancellation of a recent product but the phasing out of an older one.
As Belkin puts it on their announcement page:
On May 29, 2020 the Wemo NetCam servers will be decommissioned. Although your Wemo NetCam will still connect to your Wi-Fi network, without these servers you will not be able to view the video feed or access the security features of your Wemo NetCam, such as Motion Clips and Motion Notifications.
Additionally, if you use your Wemo NetCam as a motion sensor for your Wemo line of products, it will no longer provide this functionality and will be removed as an option from your Wemo app. Please save any files/videos before May 29.
As such, the cameras became useless on May 29. This is because the part that handles the webcam will be unplugged, thus rendering the webcam useless.
Are There Workarounds or Refunds?
Unfortunately there aren’t any workarounds, as the announcement goes on to say the webcam is closely tied to the iSecurity+ platform. This will be terminated in May, so users can’t use the camera at all.
As for refunds, Belkin will only honor purchases made within two years with proof of purchase. Anything that doesn’t fall into this category doesn’t quality for a refund.
The Downside of Cloud-Based IoT
As you can tell, people who bought the camera in 2017 through early 2018 are not happy. For them, the hardware is still working just fine but will be forcibly broken when the deadline comes around.
This is one of the major downsides to cloud-based IoT. External clouds are useful for when your product is brand new, as it means you don’t have to set up your own server and software.
However, as time goes on, the service may degrade, become outdated, lose support, or – as we see here – get cut off completely. The user has no control or power over when this occurs and can’t save their devices with a workaround.
As such, this is a major topic to think about when you invest in a smart home. IoT cloud devices are not “buy and forget” – you can’t purchase them, set them up, and be set for life. They require constant updates, both through firmware and purchasing new hardware to replace the old ones going out of service.
Bye Bye to Belkin’s NetCam
Having systems dependent on third parties is convenient but subject to dying off once the company moves on. This is now happening to the Wemo NetCam, which has left recent purchasers disgruntled at the sudden shutdown.
If you want a camera that still works, try our guide to smart cameras for outdoor use.