With all the smart home devices coming out, it was only a matter of time before a central command hub became necessary. Connecting everything through a phone or tablet can be convenient sometimes, but not always practical. Wink, a smart home subsidiary of Quirky, recently announced their forthcoming touchscreen panel that will bring all those smart home devices together in one hub called Relay.
Relay looks like a big smartphone, costs about $300 and can be installed in place of a wall light switch (that easy!). They seem to have thought of everything when designing it. It communicates with multiple smart devices, includes its own set of sensors and a built-in microphone and speaker so that you can leave messages for your housemates. (Perhaps Her-like voice recognition in the future?!) “Done right, the smart home connects you to what you want, when you need it… bringing conveniences of safety, security and automation. That doesn’t mean you should have to see your work email when you lock your door,” says Brett Worthington, VP/GM of Wink. “Relay allows you to have control of your home without having to look at your phone.”
Users will find all the connected devices in one spot on the LCD screen dashboard, with easy access as they walk in the door. “It’s a natural extension,” Worthington says in an interview with Fast Company. “Putting [Relay] where a light switch goes makes complete sense, versus something clunky that goes on a table.” Or is lost in your purse or upstairs under a pile of dirty laundry, for that matter.
Wink’s biggest competitor is clearly Nest, which was purchased by Google earlier this year for $3.2 billion. It’s almost a smart home arms race at this point, and it’ll be interesting to see how that healthy competition might revolutionize the way we interact with our homes.
Do you use any smart home devices right now? Let us know your favorites in the comments!