Companies, both in consumer electronics and mobile, have been quick to push the Internet of Things idea to customers. That haste, however, might be causing those customers problems down the line. From possible security breaches to potentially dangerous bugs, the warts of IoT are only recently starting to surface. Take for example the Hive Home Heating device in the UK, which, thanks to a bug in its iOS app, has caused home owners to experience summer a tad too early for comfort.
Hive’s equivalent of a smart thermostat has been in the market for more than two years now, so it should have matters down to a ‘T’ by this time. However, bugs are an inescapable fact of software life, except that, when applied in certain cases, they can be inconvenient or even dangerous.
Over the weekend, the company has received at least 30 complaints about excessive heat in their homes, coupled with fears of excessive charges due to it. While that’s a mere fraction of Hive’s advertised 300,000 customers, those are only the ones that formally complained. Hive said that they traced the issue to a bug in its iOS app which raised temperatures to 32°C if a specific sequence of actions were made. This is almost in comic contrast to the bug that plagued the Nest Thermostat just last January, which dumped owners on the opposite end of the temperature spectrum, craving for more heat instead of complaining about it.
Hive says that it is working on a software update to fix the bug and that users need not worry too much about it. They can simply turn down the temperature manually via the app or on the thermostat itself and the app will work as normal. That said, it does illustrate the greater need for scrutiny on both hardware and especially software, to ensure that IoT appliances and devices are not only fancy and convenient, but also safe and secure.