Wink Takes the Home Automation Market by Storm

Wink - Home Automation Market

The home automation market is set to be taken by storm, by a Wink. The Wink Relay is the first home automation touch screen control panel for the do it yourself market. Sure, you can call me up and have me install a touchscreen controller from Crestron or one of a couple of other manufacturers, but, that’s the key. Those control units are not designed for the average homeowner to install.

The Wink Relay Is Easy to Install

The Wink Relay itself is super simple to install. It basically replaces a switch and its wall plate/cover. If you can twist a couple wires together, you can install the Wink touchscreen control module. OK. I’ll admit, you also have to be able to install two screws to hold the inner module into the wall box. The cover containing the touchscreen simply snaps onto the inner module. You don’t even need to own any tools since they include all that you need to install it yourself.

The Wink Relay Encompasses the Home Automation Market

Wink’s main point of focus is to give you one place to control your smart house from. To this end Wink is building relationships with most of the major players in the home automation market. What this means to you is that you don’t need separate apps to open the garage, turn the lights on or off, lock or unlock the front door, or adjust the thermostat. The Wink Relay and mobile app brings them all together with a single interface. Just swipe through the screens to control the device in question.

The Wink Relay Interface is Programmable

On the main page of the Wink Relay interface, you’ll find two preprogrammed touch switches, one labeled “Wake Up” and the other labeled “Sleep.” During initial startup, you will be asked to associate actions with both of these commands. You could, for example, program “Wake Up” to open you automated blinds, turn on that multi-jet shower, get the coffee going, and turn on a couple lights.

Wink Inside - Home Automation MarketThe part of the Wink Relay wall unit that is readily visible looks like a slightly modified Samsung Galaxy S4 cell phone, mounted on a white wall plate with two pressure-sensitive square switches flush-mounted to the right of the touchscreen unit. You can use these two switches to control lights regularly, or you can program them to control every smart/connected light in your house at once.

The control unit also houses several sensors-light sensors, temperature and humidity sensors, and motion sensors. This makes the possibilities for control and programmability almost endless. For instance, you can program it to turn the air conditioner on when the temperature and humidity reach certain levels only if the unit detects voices or movement near it. Think about it, you can program the device to basically put your house in lockdown if you leave and forget.

Add Your Own Devices to Be Controlled by the Wink Relay

Any list of devices and systems that can be controlled by the Wink Relay will basically be out of date by the time you read this, as they are constantly adding manufacturers and products. As of this writing, the Wink Relay works with Schlage programmable door locks, the Nest Learning Thermostat, heating and cooling systems from Rheems, Gilmour sprinkler systems, Linear home security and automation products, Dropcam, and Honeywell.

Pricing and Availability for the Wink Relay

As of this writing, the Wink Relay is only available in the U.S. The current price is in the neighborhood of about $300, although it is available on the Amazon Marketplace for about $250. This is a bit steep at first blush. However, the kit comes with everything you need to install it, including wire stripper, screwdriver, wire nuts, power box, screws, and the instruction manual.

Wink will soon be adding another function to the already impressive Wink Relay — an intercom feature. It’s already got a speaker and microphone built into the device, so adding this functionality will simply be a matter of upgrading the Wink app.

Do you think the Wink Relay is set to set the home automation market on its ear? IS there anything you can think of that they didn’t? I’d like to hear your thoughts in the comments below.