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Consumer Technology Logitech disables local access on Harmony Hubs, breaks automation systems

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Many users of Logitech's Harmony Hub smart home hub and remote were recently met with a nasty surprise. The device's latest firmware update, version 4.15.206, reportedly cuts off local access for Harmony Hubs. As a result, many users who created home automation and smart home systems using third-party APIs haven't been able to control many, and in some cases, all of their connected IoT devices.

 

Logitech began pushing out firmware update 4.15.206 last week, its release notes stating that it addresses security and bug fixes. Users immediately flocked to Logitech's community forms to complain once they realized the systems they built up to control their smart home devices essentially became unresponsive. Users with Homeseer and Home Assistant APIs have reported parts of their systems broken, preventing them from controlling things like smart TVs, sound systems, and more using the Harmony Hub and its remote.

 

Last night, Logitech responded with an official statement on its forums, saying in part that the firmware update addresses "security vulnerabilities" and that those "undocumented" APIs that some have been using for home automation were never officially supported in the first place.

 

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This isn't the first time Logitech has essentially bricked one of its own devices. Late last year, the company announced it would "discontinue service and support" for Harmony Link devices within a few months. Link users were able to control home entertainment and sound systems using the device and its accompanying app, without paying a service or subscription fee.

 

At the time, Logitech offered a discount to Link customers if they upgraded to the newer Harmony Hub, but many Link users were frustrated that they were being forced to buy a new product while their current system spiraled toward end of life. After intense backlash, Logitech ended up replacing Link devices for free.

https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2018/12/logitech-firmware-update-breaks-locally-controlled-harmony-hub-systems/

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Companies hate when you use their products in a way that cuts out other revenue streams. They are always trying to find ways to push you towards recurring fees, even if a particular step they take doesn’t directly achieve that goal.

 

Terrible.

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I won't defend Logitech here, because it seems like a real dick move, but it's also a pretty bad idea to build your home automation setup around an undocumented api.

 

It's a real shame that there aren't better universal remotes out there. I like my harmony well enough, but it also feels like there's so much room for competition. The Caavo is the only alternative I've seen recently, and that's a system I'm not ready to buy into yet.

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