updated 05:10 pm EDT, Tue July 8, 2014
Retailer selects Wink as 'signature platform' as it expands automation offerings
As several big companies are gearing up for entry into the home automation market, a smaller company may end up beating them to the punch. Wink, a company that originates from the crowdsourcing inventor hub Quirky, has partnered with several big names in home automation to allow a central service for device control. The endeavor is getting a new boost, as Wink-enabled products are now in 2,000 Home Depot locations.
"The Home Depot's nearly 2,000 U.S. stores offer consumers the broadest network of connected products from brands that they and their family rely on," said Wink Vice President Brett Worthington. "Together we are offering the simplest way to connect to products in the home from trusted brands like Leviton, Honeywell, Rheem, Lutron and Schlage."
Wink started as a platform for the inventor hub Quirky, which the company announced it was spinning out in late June. More than 15 manufacturers of home automation products partnered with the company for Wink-enabled devices. Products such as irrigation systems, light bulbs, locks, water heaters and window shades can all be controlled in one location, thanks to Wink.
The automation company offers a free app, on iOS and Android, which allows control down to the single-device level in an easy-to-use interface. Device groups and controls for an area of the home can be set up, giving consumers the power to control devices from several manufacturers in one command. This gives the platform an advantage over the standalone apps manufacturers put out for their products, as it makes it easier for a consumer to control multiple items and brands. Wink recently announced that the app is coming to Android Wear devices.
"When looking for new products and services, we believe it is critical The Home Depot provide our customers the connected home options and convenience they desire -- one that is easy, affordable and gives them the choice in products they need. With Wink, we've found a partner that supports the industry-leading brands we already carry on our shelves and online," said Home Depot Home Automation Merchandising Vice President Jeff Epstein.
In addition to working with Quirky products, Bali, Chamberlain, Dropcam, GE Honeywell, Kidde, Kwikset, Leviton, Lutron, Philips, Rachio, Rheem, Schlage and TCP are enabling their devices for use with Wink. The company states that nearly 60 devices are enabled for the program.
For devices that don't connect directly to the Internet, Wink has released the Wink Hub. The hub allows those partner devices to communicate to the Wink app. The device is priced at $80, but discounts are available at Home Depot through Labor Day with the purchase of Wink-enabled products. Wink Hub has no monthly fees or contracts. It supports protocols including Bluetooth, Lutron ClearConnect, Wi-Fi, Z-Wave and Zigbee.
The service Wink is shooting for isn't unlike other attempts in the past at the same level of control. Nest attempted a connected device approach with "Works with Nest." Companies like Jawbone, Mercedes Benz and Whirlpool partnered with the thermostat maker for different smart-connect options.