(Image Courtesy of Wink)
Quirky owned company, Wink, teams up with The Home Depot to give Apple’s HomeKit, Google’s Smart Homes, Lowe’s Iris and Staples Connect a run for their money with its new home automation platform.
To those who’re interested in a quick background on Quirky: It is an inventive start-up that fields over 4,000 new product ideas a week, picking three winners and transforming them thereby bringing to life. It has also surfaced as a pioneer through its top-selling ingenious and standalone products. For example, who could think of ‘a plastic stem that inserts into a lemon and becomes a push-button citrus spritzer?’ Quite quirky and ingenious, isn’t it?
So it doesn’t come off as surprise when a company that can fend off 4,000 ideas a week introduces a home automation platform that can literally send other competitors into oblivion, based on: affordability, effortlessness & quick set up.
What sets Wink apart from other Smart home kits is that it not only supports Quirky’s own Internet of Things (IoT) products, but also third-party devices (via open-source) that utilize Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Z-wave plus, Zigbee to connect to the Wink HUB. The set up for Wink compatible products and the app is practically affordable and available compared to those that will be released later this year such as Apple’s HomeKit and the Google Smart house which is still under works and will cost a fortune.
‘Wink Smart Home: Simple, Fast, Affordable & Easy’
The new Wink Hub and open-API platform will combine hundreds of smart devices for a complete and smart home automation ecosystem. Wink has not yet announced which of its products will be compatible at its launch which is scheduled this month. According to the New York Times, Wink could partner will around 15 partner companies and 60 compatible products some of which include Honeywell, Philips, Rachio (smart irrigation controller), and Rheem (HVAC and water heaters).
The connected smart home products include light bulbs, video camera, garage doors, water heaters and lawn sprinklers.
So how does Wink work?
Wink’s standalone smartphone and tablet app will offer consumers a single digital dashboard to link and control the user’s smart-home device that needs to be monitored and altered according to their preference. For example, the user could instruct the lights in the kitchen and dining room to turn on when the automated door unlocks via few finger swipes.
The company behind Wink, Quirky wants to accelerate the adoption of smart-home products. Wink whose main technology is a software equivalent of an open operating system will help them seamlessly connect to all kinds of automated home devices.
The vision to make products and kits powerful as the Wink has been around for years, “The Internet of things is still for hackers, early adopters and rich people,” said Ben Kaufman, Quirky’s 27-year-old founder and chief executive.
When the Quirky spinoff approached Home Depot, they were impressed with Wink, crowning it as its technology partner on around 600-smart-home products.
“We wanted a partner who could take all these products and make them work together,” said Jeff Epstein, its vice president in charge of home automation products. “Frankly, Quirky and Wink were the only ones who could do that at least so far.”
Apart from Home Depot, Wink hardware hub ($70) will also be sold by Amazon. The packaging on Wink products which will be on display at all of Home Depot American stores, about 2000 will have two logos. One for products which can communicate with a home Internet router ‘Wink app ready’ and the other for products that require a hub as a translator which will flaunt the logo ‘Wink app compatible’. The Wink app is also scheduled to be launched on Apple’s App Store and Google Play on July 7, 2014.
Chris Klein, chief executive of Rachio, a company that makes software-controlled lawn sprinklers, views Wink as another step in the consumerization of the Internet of things. “In the past, it was too expensive and complicated, like setting up your own supercomputer,” Mr. Klein said. “But all this is becoming affordable and doable.”