Online rush for Sharp face masks crashed its smart home IoT server
Smart air conditioning systems knocked offline by website demand
Demand for protective face masks sold by Sharp caused its website to crash. But because its smart home air conditioning systems use the same server, they were knocked offline too.
The bizarre event happened on the morning of April 21, almost immediately after the Japanese electronics firm listed face masks for sale on its website for the first time.
Sharp announced in March that it would begin producing the masks, which are designed to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus and reduce the number of Covid-19 cases.
But, as the masks went on sale in Japan this morning, Sharp's server was unable to handle the demand, and the website fell offline.
The masks went on sale at 10:00 Japanese Standard Time (21:00 EST, April 20), priced at around $28 for a box of 50. However, at the time of writing, at 20:00 JST, the website is still offline. At the request of the Japanese government, Sharp had planned to sell 3,000 boxes of masks per day, made in its television factory.
The masks were priced at around $28 for 50Sharp
High traffic knocking websites offline isn't a particularly unusual thing to happen, but what makes this case different is how that same server was also used by Sharp to let customers interact with their smartphone-controlled Internet of Things devices, including smart home air conditioning systems.
According to Japanese website Asahi Shimbun, Sharp explained how the server manages membership registration to Sharp's website and its online services, including apps used to control smart home devices.
The same login details are used by customers to buy masks and control connected Smart products. A Sharp spokesperson said it apologies for the problems, and is currently investigating.
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