Home Automation

Disconnected by TCP

Sadly, these headlines just write themselves….

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TCP, maker of efficient lighting products, quietly shut down its cloud services that enable remote access and third-party integration with its Connected by TCP products. At least that’s the official line. If you dig deeper, you’ll also find mention that, while the gateway and bulbs will continue to work over Wi-Fi, TCP has discontinued “updates of [sic] the TCP Lighting App.” And Connected by TCP products are nowhere to be found on TCP’s web site now.

What does this mean? First, it means that you can no longer control TCP bulbs from outside your home, even with TCP’s own app. You will still be able to use TCP’s app inside your home for as long as it still works.

Additionally, it means that you can no longer control TCP’s bulbs with SmartThings, Wink, Muzzley, or any other third-party solution…anywhere—home or away. And it’s likely that you won’t ever unless TCP decides to open up its gateway so others can address it directly.

TCP booth at Lightfair 2015You may have noticed that Connected by TCP products have been on clearance at many home stores for many months. Over two years ago, they announced a major product line and gateway update that they never rolled out, and they may have found that their early technology decision to use 6LoWPAN painted them into something of a corner.

It’s a shame, because TCP’s bulbs were great. Good Housekeeping originally rated them best of the available connected bulbs at the time, and we ranked them highest in an early comparison of connected bulbs. We do not recommend buying these products on clearance now since they’re not compatible with any other gateway or controller, and it seems they’ll have a shorter half-life than expected.

This is the third story we’ve covered in barely three months about a company abandoning its cloud-based connected home service. Nest shuttered the Revolv hub just a few weeks back, and Staples has essentially pushed support for its Staples Connect system off to a third-party vendor. In this case, the product still works off the net, but that’s little consolation when you’ve shelled out the bucks for a connected product.

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About the author

Richard Gunther

Richard is a product experience consultant with a life-long interest in consumer electronics. He has been immersed in smart home tech for decades now and hosts The DMZ's home automation podcast, Home: On and co-hosts Entertainment 2.0 with Josh Pollard. Richard looks at products through an experience lens, always seeking the right mix of utility and delight.

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