We’ve covered the various home automation products available on the market. They’ve ranged from thermostats, home security robots, to crock pots. But with so many different technologies around the house, how can they be converged?
That’s part of the job of unifying automation platform, the Wink Home Security system. It doesn’t connect to all products, but for the price of $80 you can tap into the networking protocols of Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Z-Wave, ZigBee, Lutron, ClearConnect, and Kidde. This hub connects devices via your smartphone.
Wink has one of the most affordable and versatile options on the market, but are there any problems? And what about their relationship with Quirky, a company who shut down?
Some Wink History
Wink’s ex-parent company, Quirky, declared bankruptcy in 2015. That looked like it would mean bad news for Wink, but the company has not only been able to stick around, they’ve actually grown.
According to an article by the Verge, Wink has reached 1.3 million devices on its network with another 20,000 coming online every week.
A past partner with Quirky for the Wink product, Flex (previously known as Flextronics), acquired the tool. Flex originally built the product and served as the primary supplier for hardware and firmware, including the Wink HUB and Relay. Flex is known for being a solutions company that builds smart products for the connected world. But following the acquisition Wink has remained a separate company with its own operations.
The interesting thing to note however, Wink was basically thrown into the lap of Flex. Because of Quirky’s financial situation, they owed money to Flex. Sending Wink to Flex wrote off much of their debt, and Flex didn’t lose on their investment.
A very important thing to note is that Flex doesn’t make products for consumers, which is the main focus of Wink.
Wink’s product hub is able to bring 35 smart products together into an app. Their big move was their partnership with Home Depot so they can be sold in stores in the US and Canada. They are also available on Amazon.
They’re biggest selling point is that they are less than their competitors, and can integrate this wide range of protocols and brands.
Products that can pair with Wink include: Bali Automated Blinds, GE Link LED’S, GE Profile Series Remote Enabled Built-In Convection Wall Ovens, the Kidde 2-in-1 Wireless Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm, Kwikset SmartCode 910 Deadbolts, and many others. Some products work on the app without needing the hardware hub.
A lot of users complained online however, that some products took many tries and a few calls to customer service to actually get them paired. The app is accused of being very glitchy, and it seems to be an extremely common complaint by those reviewing the tool.
You can make rules on the app for certain scenarios or results, example: lights on or alerts during specific events or actions.
The product sort of resembles an Apple TV. It’s a large, white, and sleek square that stands upright. It does come with a detachable power adapter.
The future of Wink could look different than the current product, it may just fully integrate with other hardware devices, by embedding their hub in other products.
Wink appears to be growing, they’re living inside a bigger and more thriving company than Quirky at Flex, they are planning new features, and they’re strategizing how to be a front runner in home security technology.
The question of whether or not Wink can succeed is how the company will compete with larger brands like Apple and Samsung, and how sustainable home automation and smart home technology can be.
At Protect America we offer smartphone control and other home automation tools, and we suggest sticking with a home security package that provides all of your needs, rather than buying them separately and connecting to a Hub like Wink.