How Netgear and EyeFi have angered loyal customers

This past week, I’ve received “wonderful” news from EyeFi and NETGEAR:

  • EyeFi is discontinuing support and service for their Eye-Fi X2 and earlier generation wireless camera cards.
  • Netgear is shutting down the VueZone home wireless video surveillance system.

Both companies want to EOL the technology and associated services to put more resources into the newer products.

Basically, loyal customers are now left with junk.

Thanks.

Neither company is helping loyal customers transition to the new product offerings.

  • EyeFi is offering a discount on their newest generation of wi-fi camera cards, but I found a better price on Amazon.
  • Netgear is not offering any discount for Arlo, their newest wireless home video system.

I was quite happy with VueZone. I had two cameras outside (with weather enclosures and brackets), and five internal cameras. One was in night vision mode to monitor the sump pump. All together, I’ve spent about $600 on the system, not counting the $79 annual subscription fee for cloud storage. The VueZone service is only about five years old.

I get that old products need to go away so innovation can continue. I have no beef with that. However, when the transition leaves the consumer with junk, that’s a problem. Worse, the newer products often cost more, are less reliable, and have fewer features.

What should NETGEAR and Eye-Fi have done differently? It doesn’t take an MBA to figure it out that e-mail with false platitudes won’t keep the customers happy. Instead, offer an exchange program or at least a fifty percent discount off the newer products.

I’m not inclined to spend more money with either company. Eye-Fi and NETGEAR may pull the same stunt again.

Exhibit A, e-mail from Eye-Fi:

To Our Eye-Fi X2 and Earlier Generation Product Customers:

This message is for customers that purchased an Eye-Fi Pro X2 or earlier generation products prior to March 2015.  Effective today, June 30th 2016, we will no longer be offering support for our legacy product lines, a complete list of which appears below.  This notice formally begins the final stage of the “end-of-life” (EOL) process started in mid-2015 for the affected products.  It’s very important that customers cease using these products no later than September 16, 2016 as some key services these products rely on will be shut down at that time.    All customers who have a Mobi or Mobi Pro products purchased since 2013 are not affected by this announcement.

We began EOL on these product lines in 2015 largely driven by technological obsolescence of some of the key technologies included in these products.  The primary technologies relate to Internet security and authentication mechanisms that were state-of-the-art in 2007 when we built them into our products but have since proven to be vulnerable.  Since mid-2015 we have been offering migration services free of charge for Customers who have paid Eyefi Premium accounts.  We will continue to offer this service migrating your Eyefi View data to Eyefi Cloud. You can request a migration here. For those customers that wish to use an Eyefi Mobi Pro card in place of their earlier generation products, we have also made a limited quantity available at a deep discount, see details here if you wish to take advantage of this offer.

Please note that we will maintain our customer service Web site and content for all customers.  The support site includes detailed explanations for how to accomplish migration to Eyefi Mobi/Mobi Pro and Eyefi Cloud services.  We are grateful to all the customers around the world that used Eye-Fi products in the past as well as for our newest customers.  The EOL of a product line is always difficult and we have made every effort to minimize the impact of this change on our customers.  Thanks for your loyalty and understanding.

Exhibit B, e-mail from NETGEAR:

Dear Valued Customer,

This letter serves as formal notification that NETGEAR, Inc. will be discontinuing the VueZone Services on December 31, 2017. We will continue to support the VueZone Services until this date in order to allow for future planning by our VueZone customers.

After December 31, 2017, the following will apply:

–    All VueZone hardware products including base station and camera will cease to communicate with the VueZone back end

–    Any videos and photos you have saved in the VueZone cloud will not be retrievable

–    Access to the VueZone web application (my.vuezone.com) and to the VueZone mobile applications will be unavailable to all customers

–    VueZone service plans will no longer be supported and no service plan fees will be charged after this date

–    NETGEAR Customer Support will no longer provide technical support for VueZone products

For more information on the discontinuance of the VueZone Services, including a step-by-step guide on how to retrieve your videos and photos from the VueZone cloud, please visit our FAQ page.

We know this may come as disappointing news to our VueZone users, but discontinuing VueZone and allocating VueZone resources to our Arlo Smart Home Security System is consistent with NETGEAR’s practice of providing cutting-edge networking products that connect people, power businesses, and advance the way we live. NETGEAR appreciates and values our customers, and we are eager to supply your future product requirements with our world-class quality product lines.

Best Regards,
NETGEAR, Inc.
July 1, 2016

Why your fitness plan may be a losing game

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Employers are pushing fitness plans to lower insurance costs. Mine is no exception. Last year, I was invited to “invest in my health” by implementing a plan with a website that set health goals and recorded fitness activity.

I did so, and received an $1,000 discount off my family health insurance policy for achieving my goals.

This year, I’ve had to learn a new system. It has been a frustrating experience.

The trend in the health industry is to “gamify” fitness. That’s a good method to get people motivated, but this means implementation of arbitrary rules. Game theorists (i.e. a four-year old child) will tell you that arbitrary rules can be negative reinforcement to game participation.

This is what I am currently experiencing with this year’s effort.

Example: One goal is to “gradually lose weight.” I have lost 19 pounds. The standard for awarding points for the goal (set by the website) was to lose 20 pounds by a specific date. Unfortunately, nineteen pounds wasn’t good enough. There is no partial credit. There are no points awarded for the attempt. Once goals are set, they cannot be adjusted.

To truly be a fair game, the system should have awarded 95 percent of the total point value for the goal. 

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Slower traffic keep right

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Indiana legislators passed a law this year to allow the police to ticket drivers for camping out in the left lane.

Drive anywhere in this state and you will soon realize such a law is needed. Many have forgotten about “slower traffic keep right.” It’s a law that’s been on the books for years and covered in the state driver’s manual. Here’s Indiana Code 9-21-8-2(b).

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