Smart Light Bulbs: a Hub to Rule Them All (Wink)

Two years after the release of their first smart home platform, Wink launches a new hub, providing extensive features.

Two years after the release of their first smart home platform, Wink launches a new hub, providing extensive features. It has never been easier to bring together smart products in one simple experience, while keeping freedom of choice: almost all manufacturers of smart devices (bulbs, thermostats, cameras, smoke detectors…) can be controlled via a single app.

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In the world of connected objects, there are more than a dozen communication protocols. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are the most common, especially for smart lighting systems. Others might be less well known but do their part successfully, like Zigbee, Z-Wave, Insteon, Lutron or EnOcean, and there is no doubt new protocols will come to life in the coming years. But if each and every protocol has its own specifics, a difficulty arises: are the users condemned to buy products that are based on the same protocol?

The startup Wink seems to have found a solution. In 2014, it developed a hub to allow smart light users to connect several devices and to control them via a unique app, regardless of the protocol they use. In less than three years, over 1.7 million devices were connected to the platform.

In September 2016, Wink announced the imminent launch of its hub’s second version. Wink Hub 2 supports more smart home technologies, including Bluetooth Low Energy, Kidde, Lutron Clear Connect, Wi-Fi, Z-Wave and ZigBee. It also includes a Thread-capable* radio to prepare for the arrival of new products.

“Wink Hub 2 enables users regardless of their technical know-how to buy the products they love from the brands they trust, and know with confidence they’ll work together seamlessly through Wink,” said Nathan Smith, Wink founder and CTO.

A smaller, faster and safer hub

Other new features were also announced, the first being its design. Wink Hub 2 is 25% slimmer and can be placed vertically, which takes up less place. It also has reinforced security with new hardware features, including cryptographic verification, a technology used by banks to secure credit card payments. Connectivity has also been improved with a more powerful Wi-Fi radio.

The 5.0 release of the Wink mobile app introduces new features too. New programming options including “robots” allow the users to program devices to work together automatically based on triggers, such as location or activity. The setup is also made easier thanks to an “auto-discovery” option which automatically detects when Wink Hub 2 is plugged in for the first time and provides simplified guidelines.

Price: $99
Launch: October 2016
Official Website

* Thread Group works with Nest Labs, Samsung, Somfy et Osram.

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