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Living with the ghost of a smart home’s past

Illustration of a new homeowner haunted by two smart home ghosts who are messing with the blinds and lights.
Illustration by Adrián Astorgano

My brother and his wife got a house. He mentioned it appeared to have a lot of tech installed by the last owner. I told him that was an exciting mystery for the two of us. Whatever speakers and weird smart home junk had been set up, we’d be able to repurpose. But then he moved in. Slowly, over weeks of tech support calls and hours digging through shockingly deep coat closets, we learned that while the old owner was gone, his digital ghost remained. It was lurking in the home’s lights and shades and thermostat, turning what should have been a smart home into a very haunted one.

I didn’t think I’d have to be the IT equivalent of a Ghostbuster when my brother first texted me about it. I’ve set up multiple smart homes, worked in…

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