Amcrest Smart Home "Server" down?

This Forum its to discuss the new Smart Home Devices.
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unimatrix72
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Re: Amcrest Smart Home "Server" down?

Post by unimatrix72 »

ok so very new here... i try to login to the app and get a message that says "Unknown condition, please try again!"
is this related to the servers being down or something else? i am assuming servers because i have tried it on 2 phones with the same error.
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Revo2Maxx
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Re: Amcrest Smart Home "Server" down?

Post by Revo2Maxx »

@unimatrix72 Hello and Welcome to the Forum...

Yes sadly the Server seems to be off line or Rejecting connections at this time I am sure it will be up as soon as Support returns to work Monday... Or soon after they make what ever adjustment or Repairs that are needed...
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James
honeyhoney1979
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Re: Amcrest Smart Home "Server" down?

Post by honeyhoney1979 »

Oh my goodness what a world class operation. With all due respect, I wonder if that would be EST Monday when they "return to work"...? When someone comes in the office, will they discover on their own that millions of smart home devices are offline, or, will a few hundred thousand customers need to first contact support? Good grief.
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Revo2Maxx
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Re: Amcrest Smart Home "Server" down?

Post by Revo2Maxx »

Really.. Well it is back online and I am not sure why you have to have some type of Attitude about things.. To be honest seeing they pay for A service to host these Server in Amazon I personally don't feel that it is Amcrest job to keep the system up and running.. 10 year or more ago when I paid for COLO service to have my Server housed in a OC48 backbone part of my month fee to the COLO company was I had 24/7 access and if something went funky it was their job to keep my connection running and over the 5 years that I paid for service I got what I paid for..

However if there was ever something I may have found when I returned to the Office and checked my Connection if there was an issue I would make it known.. Only 1 time I had a Problem and that was after Software Update there was a Connection issue on my Server however seeing I had paid for Redundant server my system was still up just running on a backup server while my Server was being reconfigured...
Try to Avoid CCA Networking Cables They are JUNK PERIOD!
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James
honeyhoney1979
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Re: Amcrest Smart Home "Server" down?

Post by honeyhoney1979 »

Please forgive the attitude, it's one of some frustration with Amcrest support. This is about the 5th time this year I've experienced this offline condition with smart home cameras. Each time in the past I've checked with support, and they would have me go thru the obvious local network checks, rebooting router, modem, then hard resetting device (a bigger challenge on one that is mounted on a roof soffit). Not one time have they ever indicated that the issue might be on their end. Regretfully this was the first time I thought to check this forum about the matter, and discovered other offline reports. I appreciate the forum, and thanks for your feedback.
cmassey84
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Re: Amcrest Smart Home "Server" down?

Post by cmassey84 »

Hi everyone,

First, I'm thankful for the online community (and this thread) for helping me correlate an issue with my Amcrest doorbell camera with an Amcrest server outage. This is the third time this year that I've had this issue with my doorbell camera. I really wish Amcrest offered an IP (non-cloud dependent) doorbell camera, as my other non-smart IP cameras from Amcrest have been rock solid. And for their "Smart Home" cameras, it would be awesome if they could still connect to the Amcrest Smart Home iOS app via the local network, as a fallback for when the cloud service is unavailable.

Anyway, I can understand the frustrations others have had here. I also understand that Amcrest is using Amazon AWS and the outage might be on Amazon's end. However, being a professional organization, I would have expected Amcrest to have some sort of datacenter monitoring solution in place, such as SolarWinds or Nagios, that would alert Amcrest to their virtual servers being down. Likewise, I would expect Amcrest to have a public webpage that shows the status of their services, or a mailing list that users can register for, so that we can easily see if there's problem on the Amcrest side, before wasting time and effort going down a rabbit hole trying to troubleshoot our local network connectivity. Other cloud-based companies offer this to their customers. I think it would be in Amcrest's best interest to implement a solution that makes their customers aware of outages.

To add insult to injury, whenever I have contacted Amcrest Support about this issue, they would not admit to any outages on their end. Even when I sent them a link to this thread, they completely ignored it and told me to check my local network or perform (another) factory reset on the doorbell camera, all steps I told them I had already gone through. My clue that there might be something wrong on the remote end is, after deleting the offline doorbell camera from my account, performing a factory reset on the camera, then attempting to add it back, when the Amcrest Smart Home app gets to the very last step in the process and times out, complaining that it was unable to register the camera. Then I visit the online forums to confirm that it's not just my connection.

As stated earlier, their non-smart IP cameras have been solid for me. I also have them connected to an Amcrest NVR. Everything is behind my VPN, so I can access them securely while away from home. Ironically, the Smart Home camera is the only camera I've had issues with. I would have expected a cloud-based solution to be more resilient than my single-point-of-failure VPN solution. Oh, in the past, when the Amcrest cloud went offline, my NVR could still connect to my doorbell camera, which was an okay workaround (although, the door chime would not work during this time). However, this time even my NVR lost its ability to login to the doorbell camera's RTSP service, even though I could ping the camera's IP address (which I got from my DHCP server using its MAC address), so I know the camera was still connected to my WiFi.

Anyway, I just wish Amcrest would be more transparent with their customers. Regardless of whether the availability issue is Amazon's fault or not, Amcrest should make their customers aware of outages and should themselves be monitoring for outages. I'm a SysAdmin for an aerospace company. We have to monitor our servers and report outages to our users. I would have expected a company like Amcrest to do the same.

Anyway, I'll try adding back my doorbell camera later today, when I get back home from work.

Thanks again, everyone, for this community support!

Chris
honeyhoney1979
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Re: Amcrest Smart Home "Server" down?

Post by honeyhoney1979 »

Chris, while your knowledge and experience on this matter is WAY over my head, still, I appreciate and agree with every point of your post...including the fact that all non-smart cameras remained online. I do feel fortunate that once the Amcrest service was restored, my smart home cameras were automatically restored, not requiring a reset, for which due to logistical challenges, I am very grateful. Thanks for your observations and Amcrest suggestions, and thanks to all on this forum for feedback and comments.
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arvindram11
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Re: Amcrest Smart Home "Server" down?

Post by arvindram11 »

I have 3 Amcrest cameras and now 1 Amcrest doorbell as well. Like someone said when it works then it works great. But when it goes down then it does not do so gracefully. For example I was not able to view my doorbell using the Amcrest Smart Home app the whole period the server was down BUT I was able to view the stream using the Amcrest View app by adding the camera manually. The app unfortunately relies on the server being online which makes sense for notifications but not for live viewing.
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Revo2Maxx
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Re: Amcrest Smart Home "Server" down?

Post by Revo2Maxx »

I have said it some time in the past and While this info isn't from Amcrest and my own ideas...

Smart Home Products are on a different Software type and Cloud Based on the idea that it will be easier to send Notices and things like that while the User is away from home... As such sadly when and if the Server goes down then all functions related to said server no longer functions..

So while I was able to get a notice when someone Pressed the Button on the Doorbell I was not able to Answer the call because that required the server to assist in that action.. TO be honest I was surprised that I got the Call to even come in seeing I thought it was part of the Push for the Doorbell camera...

So for me that says with Server down, Cameras that are on Server can't get Served with the Video that isn't going over IP it is going over a UUID that is setup between the Camera, and the Server so people that have the IP of the device might have the ability to get a Feed from a different app or software or hardware and I do say Might because my 8xx camera was offline the whole day on my NVR while my 702 was connected without fail to my NVR..

If the system Relied on IP and not UUID then loads of people would be upset they can't get any notices when there is motion or calls when someone presses the button... People would have to Setup some type of Tunnel or Forwarding or P2P service to make the camera and app talk and so best way was to write the program where a Server has INFO off all the hardware devices after they are Registered, and having a Open communication path from the Device to the App without having to worry did the Customer setup said path...

National Doorbell Server Testing day lol that is what we need.. Set a day that everyone pushes the doorbell same time for testing the Servers they are connected to lol JK JK... Think that other company that said they sold 480k units in 1 month should have that test done lol hahahaha JK.. would love to be a Fly on the wall in the server room if that ever happen lol...
Try to Avoid CCA Networking Cables They are JUNK PERIOD!
Where there is Life there is Hope
James
cmassey84
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Re: Amcrest Smart Home "Server" down?

Post by cmassey84 »

Hi James (Revo),

While I fully understand what you're saying and 100% agree that a cloud-based implementation probably makes the most sense to satisfy the "lowest common denominator" of customers, the Amcrest Smart Home app should be robust enough to detect when the camera(s) is accessible over the local network and fallback on the local connection whenever there's a problem with the cloud connection. At least this way users can still view the live stream without needed yet another app (Amcrest View Pro) or NVR. I can imagine how annoying a cloud outage may be for the customers who only have Smart Home cameras and are *paying* for the cloud storage for their recordings.

I personally own several IP cameras from Amcrest (non-cloud), making the doorbell camera the only Smart Home product I own from Amcrest. So, I already use their Amcrest View Pro app regularly to view my cameras, including the doorbell's live video and secondary motion recordings via my NVR, and access them over VPN while away from home. *Usually* I can still view the doorbell camera via my NVR when the cloud is offline, so this is not a huge issue for me. But like I said, it could be a bigger issue for other customers who don't have my setup.

Cloud vs local (port forwarding, VPN) solutions aside, my biggest issue with Amcrest is their lack of transparency when it comes to outages. At the very least, they should be monitoring their own cloud services and offer a mailing list that customers can subscribe to for notifications related to important issues, especially service outages. It would be even better if they could offer a public (or registration required) website that shows the current status of their cloud services. Something like this would be really awesome:

https://status.aws.amazon.com/

But instead, it seems that they follow a "we'll get around to it on Monday" service delivery strategy. They should enlist the help of datacenter/server monitoring technologies such as SolarWind or Nagios to alert them whenever there's an issue, so they can be more proactive with their approach. Depending on the company size, they may not have the staffing and/or budget to offer 24/7 support and can only serve customers during normal business hours. That's completely understandable. But they shouldn't leave their customers hanging out to dry, left to their own devices to figure out if there's a cloud outage or a problem with their local network or camera. A simple email that reads "we've detected a service outage that may impact <XYZ customers> and expect to have services fully restored by <insert date here>." would be tremendously helpful. Even if this notice was sent on a Thursday and the expected restoration date was the following Tuesday, at least their customers would know what's happening and that Amcrest is working the problem. I'd expect this might also reduce the number of redundant help tickets/emails they receive from confused customers asking why the Amcrest Smart Home app can no longer connect to their Smart Home camera(s) or why those cameras are shown as "offline" in the app. They wouldn't even acknowledge an outage when I've contacted them, such was the case two days ago.

If Amcrest wants to grow to be a leader of home surveillance products, they really need to examine their SLA. Otherwise, it's an invitation for them to lose their competitive advantage and for their customers to weigh the other options the market has to offer. I'm sure Amcrest is aware that they're not the only game in town.

And this is not to say that I have any animosity towards Amcrest or dislike all of their products. I really like their non-cloud IP outdoor cameras. The build and video quality are hard to beat for the price. But they've got to step up their game when it comes to their cloud-based offerings.

Just my humble two cents.

Thanks,
Chris
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