Samsung’s IoT Suuuuuucks!
While part of me doesn’t want to pile on to Samsung given they Galaxy Note 7 Issues I just bought a near $5K refrigerator that is supposed to be the epitome of in home IoT and, while it looks cool, it is one huge pain to get to work. Samsung just doesn’t seem to get that this stuff should just connect out of the box and that it is critical that the people who are supposed to install this stuff are aware of existing problems before spending hours trying to fix something that is apparently unfixable.
Let me walk you through the experience.
Samsung Installation Help
So Samsung allows you to register the refrigerator and ask for specialized help setting it up. I did that and I never got a call from the firm that was supposed to handle the setup. I bought the refrigerator from Best Buy instead of Amazon because they promised a white glove installation with help. But the date they picked for the installation their one specialist in the area was on vacation. Once he did show up he actually got my router working better than it has ever worked but when it came to connecting my wife’s iPhone 6s to the refrigerator, after hours of trying there was no joy. He went on line only to find that the refrigerator hasn’t been working with iPhones for around 3 months and there was no date for when this would be fixed. Apparently an Apple software update broke the app and given my wife both has the iPhone and does the shopping this largely made it so most of the key refrigerator features didn’t work for her. Lovely because that means I have to do the shopping if I want to use the refrigerator’s interior camera to see what we need.
I’d use Best Buy’s service again, the guy they sent was great, but I was less than excited about Samsung’s support.
One of the key features in the Samsung Refrigerator was its ability to stream TV from a Samsung TV. This seemed great and I had two Samsung TVs which were less than 2 years old and both where connected to the network. It saw one of them, apparently the other didn’t make the cut. So we bought a new 70” Samsung TV and got it to connect to the refrigerator (and it did connect easily) only to find out it introduces latency into the signal so the audio on the TV and that on the refrigerator isn’t in sync. This means the whole idea that she could watch the same show in the kitchen that I was watching in the living room only was livable if we turned off the audio on the refrigerator and cranked up the volume in the living room otherwise the delay was really annoying (oh, and of course, then the lips weren’t in sync either). I was starting to understand why their phones and washing machines were catching fire, their quality control process particularly when the devices are first qualified must really suck.
I wasn’t ready to replace our stoves or air conditioning system but this refrigerator did connect to their robotic vacuum. So I bought their high end model only to find that it doesn’t actually have built in networking and can’t connect to the refrigerator. So back to Amazon and I picked up a lower end version that does have Wi-Fi. It would connect to the refrigerator but it wouldn’t authenticate so that feature too remains unavailable. It strikes me that it would be really handy if the Samsung app on the refrigerator actually told you what models it connected with well so you wouldn’t get a surprise like this.
So, during this process, I dropped the better part of $10K into Samsung products I mostly didn’t need, to get features that mostly didn’t work, and the only good news is nothing caught fire or burned my home down.
The whole point of IoT is easy to use automated services not a frustrating blend of products that don’t talk to each other or work properly. Ideally products should work across vendors, but the fact that I can’t get a good experience within the Samsung family suggests Samsung has far deeper problems than just exploding phones.