Control & Automation

Will.i.am and Wink’s First Z-Wave Devices: A Shift in Smart-Home Strategy?

FCC filings reveal Wink Labs, the home-automation developer recently acquired by will.i.am (i.am+), is making its own Z-Wave security peripherals for the first time -- after years of handing that business to third-party IoT device makers.

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4 Comments
Posted by antoniohardeman on August 7, 2017

I hate to say it Julie but I think that Wink isn’t long for this world.  I just don’t believe that Will’s company will be able to fund and support Wink the way that it needs to be supported once that 4 year investment requirement ends.  Just as the other hubs that exited the market proved, Wink’s original underpinnings kind of showed us that they were never meant to survive.  It was more of a gamble with the hope that they’d get picked up by a bigger company that actually cared about the connected home space.  Wink lost that gamble.

If and when Wink exits stage right, that’ll leave Smart Things (Samsung), Nexia (Ingersoll Rand) and Lowes Iris (Lowes) as the only hub based connected home systems.  I’m not so much worried about those companies as we move forward bc they’re well established and they have the financial means to continue funding their hub system; and those companies have shown the willingness to stay in the business.  And Smart Things and Ingersoll Rand/Nexia are principle members on the Z-wave board, so they have a vested interest.

I find it interesting that some have an aversion to hubs and we never mention Apple’s Homekit when we talk about hubs.  But if you think about it, in order to do some the advance automations with Homekit, the end user needs to have an Apple TV or Ipad that stays in the home.  The Apple TV or Ipad in an Homekit environment is essentially a hub. 

There are way too many silly articles (CNBC had one such article about a week ago) done by people that aren’t really knowledgeable about the connected home.  The writers of these articles complain about devices not talking to each other and lamenting that there isn’t one connected home standard, but many.  The thing that the majority of these articles leave out is that a hub does allow devices to talk with each other; even devices that may not have the same protocol.  People may not want hubs, but then how much sense does it make to complain about devices that don’t work together if you’re not willing to introduce a tiny hub that can be hidden somewhere out of sight?

As the idea of the connected home continues to resonate with individuals, I think that the education/literature has to focus on devices working in sync with each other and how a hub device allows for that.

Posted by Julie Jacobson on August 7, 2017

Right on, Antonio! When people say they don’t want a hub, what they really mean is: I don’t want to BUY a hub because I have no idea what a hub is or what it does.

Posted by HometechJohn on August 13, 2017

Will people please let Zwave DIE a merciful death and stop trying to add on to this miserable technology.

Seems fitting that more money is thrown at these technologies.  X10 was rock solid compared to Zwave : )

Posted by sbsikes yahoo.com on August 14, 2017

As usual, you are right on target, Julie. People do not buy smart homes, they buy solutions to use cases. If hubs are Trojan Horses to really great solutions, then may the (hub based) add-on services flourish!

4 Comments
Posted by sbsikes yahoo.com on August 14, 2017

As usual, you are right on target, Julie. People do not buy smart homes, they buy solutions to use cases. If hubs are Trojan Horses to really great solutions, then may the (hub based) add-on services flourish!

Posted by HometechJohn on August 13, 2017

Will people please let Zwave DIE a merciful death and stop trying to add on to this miserable technology.

Seems fitting that more money is thrown at these technologies.  X10 was rock solid compared to Zwave : )

Posted by Julie Jacobson on August 7, 2017

Right on, Antonio! When people say they don’t want a hub, what they really mean is: I don’t want to BUY a hub because I have no idea what a hub is or what it does.

Posted by antoniohardeman on August 7, 2017

I hate to say it Julie but I think that Wink isn’t long for this world.  I just don’t believe that Will’s company will be able to fund and support Wink the way that it needs to be supported once that 4 year investment requirement ends.  Just as the other hubs that exited the market proved, Wink’s original underpinnings kind of showed us that they were never meant to survive.  It was more of a gamble with the hope that they’d get picked up by a bigger company that actually cared about the connected home space.  Wink lost that gamble.

If and when Wink exits stage right, that’ll leave Smart Things (Samsung), Nexia (Ingersoll Rand) and Lowes Iris (Lowes) as the only hub based connected home systems.  I’m not so much worried about those companies as we move forward bc they’re well established and they have the financial means to continue funding their hub system; and those companies have shown the willingness to stay in the business.  And Smart Things and Ingersoll Rand/Nexia are principle members on the Z-wave board, so they have a vested interest.

I find it interesting that some have an aversion to hubs and we never mention Apple’s Homekit when we talk about hubs.  But if you think about it, in order to do some the advance automations with Homekit, the end user needs to have an Apple TV or Ipad that stays in the home.  The Apple TV or Ipad in an Homekit environment is essentially a hub. 

There are way too many silly articles (CNBC had one such article about a week ago) done by people that aren’t really knowledgeable about the connected home.  The writers of these articles complain about devices not talking to each other and lamenting that there isn’t one connected home standard, but many.  The thing that the majority of these articles leave out is that a hub does allow devices to talk with each other; even devices that may not have the same protocol.  People may not want hubs, but then how much sense does it make to complain about devices that don’t work together if you’re not willing to introduce a tiny hub that can be hidden somewhere out of sight?

As the idea of the connected home continues to resonate with individuals, I think that the education/literature has to focus on devices working in sync with each other and how a hub device allows for that.