That floor won’t clean itself… well, quite literally it won’t, especially if the vacuum robot you bought to clean the floor won’t hop off its dock when the servers are down.
Users started reporting issues with their Roomba app around midday Friday. The status page for iRobot, the maker of Roomba, identified there were outages with Amazon Web Services. The company said they were working with AWS engineers to get the problem sorted out, though as of reporting this, the issue was still unresolved.
Roomba also tweeted about the issue, saying “some customers may be having issues accessing the iRobot app.”
Server outages happen, and that will of course cause issues with apps that rely on connectivity for most of devices more robust features. The problem is when some users cannot access necessary features at all. One user reported they could no longer stop their Roomba from doing its business as child lock features are only accessible in the app.
AWS outage: cannot access my roomba to turn it off in the app bc the app is down, tell Google to stop the roomba, cannot stop it bc AWS is down, cannot manually turn off roomba because I have the child lock on for the button, cannot turn off child lock bc app is down
— Faythe Alvim (@FaytheWhit) September 9, 2022
Gizmodo reached out to iRobot for comment but did not immediately hear back.
Other users wrote to Gizmodo that although their Roombas can activate manually by hitting the “Clean” button, their devices are still effectively unusable since they cannot tell the vacuum to only do certain rooms or avoid debris in other parts of the house.
This is just another example of the finicky difficulties employed when electronic devices require an internet connection to access necessary functionality. Is this unavoidable as devices get ever-more complicated? Perhaps, but there’s an ever-present need for newer models of any piece of tech to introduce more functionality and more features, which means companies need to figure out more workarounds for their users if things ever go wrong.
It’s also a little ironic that iRobot is having trouble with with Amazon servers just a few weeks after the online retail giant announced it was buying out the company for close to $US1.7 ($2) billion. Consumer rights groups are already up in arms over the deal, saying that Amazon was being anticompetitive by buying out its competition for the home cleaning market.
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