When GE & NYC-based start-up, Quirky, announced they were partnering up to breaking into the home automation space, they knew they would be up against some stiff competition such as Google’s Nest and Apple’s HomeKit.
“Last year, we announced to the world that together with our partners at GE, we would enter the connected home market,” Ben Kaufman, founder and CEO of Quirky, told TechCrunch.
Under the auspicious name “Wink”, Quirky’s home automation wing has recently announced seven new smart home products designed to support their main product the Wink Hub.
“In just 18 months, we have introduced an entire ecosystem of products, a powerful app that interacts with hundreds of connected devices from leading brands, and today, a comprehensive campaign to educate the world on what it means to live in the connected home,” said Kaufman.
Seven new Wink products
Tripper Window Sensor: Placed in your doorway or windowsill, Tripper provides users with instant notifications if your window or door is opened or disturbed. The sensor is easy to install, and the battery should last two years, allowing you to set and forget. Currently priced at USD$40 a pair, they’re currently on track to be available from next month.
Overflow Water Sensor: Overflow detects moisture levels and can be used to detect leaks in the home. Useful for when your garage floods but you’ve got too many boxes stacked up to notice the damage. A smart idea for preventing possible disaster, and at USD$35, it’s a smart investment.
Outlink wall outlet and energy monitor: These wall outlets allow control over any appliance. Turn your favourite lamp into a smart lamp, or ensure the oven was turned off when you left for work that morning. The outlet also monitors energy usage and is currently for sale at USD$50 per outlet.
Tapt light switch: Tapt allows control of devices with the click of a button. For example, tap the off button at bedtime, and the lights will dim, curtains will close and the doors and windows will lock. The light switch can also be used to control standard light bulbs, but has almost unlimited capabilities once connected to the Wink hub. One touch can start a pre-determined sequence of events for any time of day. A pair of switches will cost USD$60.
Ascend Garage Door controller: Attached to the garage door, the Ascent controller allows owners remote access to the garage. The device is programmable allowing you temporary access to visitors and can send alerts to a smart device if the garage is tampered with. Currently priced at USD $90, pre-order now, for delivery early next year.
Spotter Multipurpose Sensor: Spotter is a customisable sensor, users are able to log-on to the Quirky website to personalise their sensor; choosing from up to four options per device. Options include: detection of carbon monoxide, ability to monitor temperature, barometric pressure, and humidity, noise, movement, or even light detection. Spotter is magnetic and can also be mounted easily using screws, sticky tabs or tape. Spotter is currently available for pre-order and depending on the sensors you request will cost between USD$30 and USD$120. The devices are expecting to ship in December.
Norm Thermostat: Thermostats seem to be making a big dent in the home automation business, and the USD$80 Norm thermostat is on track to rival Nest. Using other connected Wink devices which have the ability to detect temperature and humidity throughout the house, Norm uses its network of sensors to adjust the heating and cooling in the house respectively. Basically it speaks to every other device in your home to sense where you are, which rooms you’re using or likely to be using and adjusts the temperature accordingly.
Also recently announced was Wink Relay, a touchscreen control panel that allows control of all your connected devices. Designed to slot into your light switch socket, the 4.3inch LCD touchscreen displays the temperature and humidity as users approach. It also comes with a microphone and speakers, allowing users to record and play messages. At USD$300 this nifty gadget is moderately priced and will ensure ease of control for all of your connected devices.
Supporting the launch of the new smart tech, Quirky also announced their ‘quirky’ ad campaign. Sticking its tongue out at a dystopian image of home automation, the ‘Robot Butler’ campaign has attracted the attention of celebrities such as Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg.
“Smart home is not just about appliances,” said GE CMO, Beth Comstock. “There’s a lot going on in the Internet of Things, and the Quirky partnership is definitely an innovation driver.”
Check out some of the funny Robot Butler ads below: