Wink is a brand of software and hardware products that connects with and controls smart home devices from a consolidated user interface. It was founded in 2014 as a spin-off from invention incubator Quirky. After Quirky went through bankruptcy proceedings, it sold Wink to Flex in 2015.
Wink, Labs Inc. was founded at Quirky, an incubator program for inventions that relies on crowd-sourced product ideas. Wink, Labs was originally created as part of a collaboration with General Electric to control co-branded smart home products like air-conditioners. It was founded by current CTO Nathan Smith and received about $20 million in funding. The company spent twelve months working with fifteen electronics manufacturing companies to offer about 60 Wink-compatible products by July 2014. Wink was spun-off from Quirky in June 2014.
According to Quirky, Wink products were in 300,000 homes by 2015. In April 2015 Wink experienced a security problem that made many of its hubs go offline or break, forcing the company to issue a recall. The recall caused a several-month inventory backlog and subsequent shortage of the Wink hub. Due to financial difficulties, due in part to the recall, Quirky began looking for buyers to sell Wink to in 2015. That November, after Quirky went through bankruptcy proceedings, it sold Wink for $15 million to Flextronics (now called Flex), to whom Quirky owed $18.7 million. Flex was Wink’s primary supplier of firmware and hardware. As of 2016, 1.3 million devices are connected to Wink.
On 27 July 2017, in its First Quarter Report, Flex announced that it has sold its interest in Wink for $59 million, representing a $38.7 million gain on the balance sheet. Although the Report described the purchaser as “an unrelated third-party venture backed company”, stories circulated in the technology press identifying the purchaser as i.am+, the technology firm founded by the performer Will.i.am.
Wink connects with third-party smart home devices associated with the Internet of Things, such as thermostats, door locks, ceiling fans, and Wi-Fi-enabled lights, to provide a single user interface on a mobile app or via a wall-mounted screen, called Relay. The allows the user to remotely control those devices. The mobile app is free, while consumers pay for a Wink Hub, or Wink Relay, which connects with smart devices in the home. The hubs integrate with competing software standards used by different manufacturers. Wink integrates with software from automated home device brands, such as Canary, which markets an app-controlled home system. In February 2016, new features were introduced to allow Wink to operate on the local network, in case a user’s internet connection is down. In June 2016, compatibility with Uber, Fitbit, and IFTTT, was added to the Relay product. A second generation version of the Wink Hub was released in November 2016.
The second generation Wink Hub supports most smart home devices with Zigbee, ZWave, Lutron Clear Connect, and Kidde protocols. Wink 2 also added Bluetooth Low Energy, 5 GHz Wi-Fi radio, an Ethernet port, and 512MB of memory.
In October 2017, the Wink Lookout home security system was announced, consisting of open/close sensors, motion sensors, a siren, and the Wink hub.
The above mentioned is a brief about wink. Watch this space for updates on the latest trends in Technology.