Wink Home Automation Hub Supports Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Z-Wave, ZigBee, Lutron Caseta
Home Depot to sell new home automation Hub from Quirky’s spinoff business Wink; Hub supports Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Smart (BLE), Z-Wave Plus, ZigBee and Lutron’s Caseta wireless protocol.
Julie Jacobson · June 26, 2014
Quirky spinoff Wink plans to give Staples Connect, Lowe’s Iris, Apple’s HomeKit and Google’s whatever-they-call-it a run for their money with a new home automation platform to be launched through Home Depot.
The new Wink Hub ($80) supports not only Quirky’s own Internet-of-Things products, but also third-party devices (via an open platform) that employ Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Smart (BLE), Z-Wave Plus, ZigBee and Lutron’s Caseta wireless protocol.
Now a standalone subsidiary, Wink was the smart home software unit of GE-backed Quirky, a group that has, indeed, created some quirky stuff such as the IoT Egg Minder: “People love eggs and in a very basic way, knowing how many eggs you have offers piece [sic] of mind.”
Quirky also has developed (rather, nurtured the development) of the Porkfolio smart piggy bank, Pivot Power smart power strip and the Aros smart air conditioner – an elegant and very practical behavior-learning machine.
The problem is that these devices live pretty much in their own silos with their own apps, and they only communicated with each other over Wi-Fi.
The new Wink Hub and open-API platform will tie together potentially hundreds of smart devices for a complete home automation ecosystem.
Wink has not yet announced which particular products will be compatible at launch on July 7, but we can expect some news next week. The New York Times says to expect Wink to announce 15 partner companies and 60 compatible products, including Honeywell, Philips (presumably Hue), Rachio (smart irrigation controller), and Rheem (HVAC and water heaters).
Certainly we can expect most Z-Wave products, as well as Lutron’s ever-expanding Caseta line of affordable wireless products including dimmers, Serena motorized shades and (coming soon) Honeywell thermostats and GE smart LED bulbs.
The Caseta wireless radio and protocol also are included in the Staples Connect hub, the first to include the new low-cost version of Lutron’s ClearConnect technology, which now comes in several (incompatible) flavors.
According to a press release, “GE also selected Wink as its preferred connected platform partner [whatever that means] and Wink will continue to build out the broadest ecosystem of connected home product manufacturers and integrate with a variety of products that consumers rely on every day in their homes.”
The new Wink Hub will not be exclusive to Home Depot.
“Our goal is to partner with all home device manufacturers and retailers moving forward.” Quirky CEO Ben Kaufman said in a statement.
The teaser images on Wink’s home page show functions for a bunch of different devices/services (climate, smoke alarm, locks, garage, blinds) but nothing on the integration of these devices. We assume there will be some kind of engine for rules and scenes. That would be the “Automation: Create simple robots to do stuff for you. Coming July 7.”
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Julie Jacobson is founding editor of CE Pro, the leading media brand for the home-technology channel. She has covered the smart-home industry since 1994, long before there was much of an Internet, let alone an Internet of things. Currently she studies, speaks, writes and rabble-rouses in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V, wellness-related technology, biophilic design, and the business of home technology. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, and earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a recipient of the annual CTA TechHome Leadership Award, and a CEDIA Fellows honoree. A washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player, Julie currently resides in San Antonio, Texas and sometimes St. Paul, Minn. Follow on Twitter: @juliejacobson Email Julie at firstname.lastname@example.org
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