The Danger of Cloud Based Hardware

Posted on May 11th, 2015

Ninja Blocks, a company that was first to market with a consolidated Internet of Things hub and sensor set, has announced they are out of money and will no longer be producing product. The heartfelt announcement didn't outright say they were shuttering the doors, but no more product, projects, or profit in the near future can only mean one thing.

What's interesting about this is that both the original Ninja Blocks and the Ninja Sphere are both cloud-based pieces of hardware. Their devices require an always-on connection that communicates with your account on their website; which allows for you to set alerts, read data, etc. In their announcement, they said The sphere cloud gets scaled back a bit (smaller servers) so it isn't costing as much, and stays up.

Exactly how long are you planning on keeping this running with no budget? What happens when whatever money that's left dries up, and their is no back end to connect to?

I asked a question in January about removing my own Ninja Blocks from their cloud, and while the answer is satisfactory for the maker in me, this isn't the sort of answer many people who bought these things for their ease of use would be comfortable with.

The more we allow companies into our lives through the Internet of Things boom, the more important aspects like what happens with your data or what happens when the company ceases to exist are going to become vital. Procedures need to be in the purchase contract that ensure that the users are protected from situations just like this; or even worse ones that we have yet to encounter.

Unless startups start taking this seriously, consumers will start to gravitate towards large corporate backers to ensure that at least their IoT hub will still work after six months.