Wink Seeks White Knight

Perhaps due to frustrating and unreliable home automation products that seemingly haven’t caught on combined with some bad bets by Quirky, Wink appears to be in dire straights – despite cash infusions from GE and a decent retail footprint. Amidst that backdrop, Michal Wolf wonders who might step in to pick up the pieces and walks us through a variety of large companies … that probably have zero interest.

I’d say it’s pretty dang difficult to handicap the suitors … given an unknown pool – the number of companies with money, for what I’d expect is a low valuation, is huge and could come from all sort of unexpected angles. Plus, beyond the Googles and Apples are smaller companies like D-Link trying to build out a home automation business.

Frankly, if I were in the market, I’d only be interested in Wink’s IP and the core employees — letting “Wink” itself die, but having the team take everything they learned to quickly build a better Wink or something to tap into Apple HomeKit, as the current product and service just seems too flakey (in our limited time with it – Adam and I both unloaded units). Further, not sure how many customers Wink currently has, but any buyer could conceivably also end up with those significant support costs yet bank no new revenue without a recurring service fee. It probably sounds cutthroat, but the smart money would jettison them.

14 thoughts on “Wink Seeks White Knight”

  1. It’s a shame no one stuck with it. For the past 4 months it has been rock solid.

    I have an exhaust fan in my attic plugged into a pivot power genius. I got the wink tripper and put it on the attic door. Now when i open the door, the fan turns on within 3 seconds. Close door, fan off.
    It hasn’t messed up once in the 2 months i’ve been using it. BIG difference from last fall when nothing worked.

    I also have about 8 Link lights(GE and Cree) that have been working flawlessly.

  2. I’ve given up on Wink and transitioned over to Staples Connect. Glad I didn’t invest heavily in the “Wink specific” products and stuck with the standards based stuff and Lutron products.

  3. “Further, not sure how many customers Wink currently has, but any buyer could conceivably also end up with those significant support costs yet bank no new revenue without a recurring service fee.”

    Couldn’t they just change the privacy terms and monetize the user base by selling surveillance info to data tracking firms?

  4. Anthony, deciding when to launch is a fine art – you want the product to be mature enough to be well received but early enough to be a market leader. Sadly, what Wink initially released was beta quality (Amazon even suspended sales) and you usually only get a single shot at generating positive perception.

  5. I bought the StaplesConnect hub largely based on the shoot out you did on this site. The product has been great, meaning it is really reliable, but there seems like there is NO current development on the product and there are huge functional outages. How can a automation hub not have timers or evaluations (if/then)?????

    Still waiting for a reliable, full featured player to show up.

  6. Dave, i agree. I had the wink hub day 1. (wild story, since home depot didn’t have the ge link bulbs in stock yet the associate gave me the hub for $.99 without buying anything else!)
    It was very very very bad in the beginning. I mistakenly added my nest to it and found it would randomly be set to away mode, grrr.

  7. One thing is certain, the failure of Wink to sustain itself organically has created the opportunity for a big company to get some decent (at least in my review a a couple of weeks ago) hardware and software for a great price and with little risk compared to building it in-house.

    Somebody should talk Roku into throwing some HA radios into their next box and using the Wink software to jump start the integration.

  8. That’s too bad. I just got on the home automation bandwagon with the GE bulbs and the link hub. My wife can’t say enough good things about how much she loves being able to turn the ceiling fan light on without having to climb on a step ladder (she’s short but very cute). I’ve integrated the bulbs with the Amazon Echo so we’ve enjoyed being able to tell Alexa to turn on the hallway light and on it goes. Hopefully as Echo begins to sell and people learn about home automation, their fate will change. But as usual, if I like it, it’s doomed. I’m looking at you Microsoft Spot Watch.

  9. Your GE/Wink bulbs are Zigbee and mostly agnostic. I had problems with one, but it could have been defective or it could have been in need of a firmware update (which I’m not sure if the Wink hub does or will provide). But Zigbee bulbs should work with other Zigbee hubs, like Staples Connect or Smartthings, perhaps even Hue.

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