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PetNet smart pet feeders break, leaving pets without food

Server problems cause app connection issues with electronic feeding machines and leading to missed meals for pets

Charlie Chalkley
Thursday 28 July 2016 17:06 BST
A lucky dog with a functioning PetNet smart feeder
A lucky dog with a functioning PetNet smart feeder (PetNet)

The Petnet Smartfeeder, a $149 internet-connected pet food machine, has suffered server issues causing pets to go hungry as scheduled meals have failed to dispense and manual feeding from the corresponding iOS app didn't work for some users.

As tweeted by a Petnet customer, the company issued an email to users stating: “we are experiencing some difficulties with one of our third party servers.” The servers, rented by Petnet from Google, were down for about 10 hours.

As a result, the company told users: “you may experience a loss of scheduled feeds and failed remote feedings".

In a knock to confidence for early adopters of the emergent ‘Internet of Things’, the startup advised owners of Smartfeeder devices: “please ensure that your pets have been fed manually until we have resolved this issue".

Some users may have been relying on their Smartfeeders while away for multiple days, or are otherwise unavailable to do so. Those customers have complained that there was not a working failsafe in place for these situations.

Petnet has subsequently stated from their support Twitter account that they have sorted out a workaround via a firmware update. However, they encouraged a user to restart their machine to make sure it updates properly — potentially posing an issue to people away from home for longer periods of time.

Some customers have already stated a loss of confidence entrusting the smart devices to feed their pets in future.

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