Amazon Alexa can now control Wink-compatible smart locks

Today we’re excited to announce a brand new category of Wink-compatible products that work with Amazon Alexa: locks! 

You can now ask Alexa-enabled devices to lock any of the locks (including those from Schlage, Kwikset, and Yale) that work with Wink or check the status of a lock with a simple voice command. For security purposes, Alexa cannot be used to unlock a door at this time.

Connecting your Wink-compatible door locks to Alexa is easy:

  1. If you haven’t already, connect your locks with the Wink app and set individual names for each if you have more than one (Front Door, Back Door, etc.).
  2. Then, enable the Wink Skill within the Alexa app (Settings > Skills > Wink > Enable).
  3. Sign in with your Wink username and password.
  4. From there, say “Alexa, discover new devices.” This can take up to 20 seconds. Your locks will then appear in the Alexa app as the name you gave it in step one.

From there, just say “Alexa, lock the front door” when you’re walking in with arms full of bags after work or “Alexa is the front door locked?” after you’ve parked up on the couch. She’ll take care of the rest. 

Wink was the first smart home platform to work with Alexa when we introduced voice control for select Wink-compatible lighting products in 2015. We’ve since tripled the number of Wink-powered light bulbs and switches that work with Alexa, extended support to Wink-enabled Nest Thermostats, and are thrilled to bring compatibility to locks!

Control Wink Shortcuts With the Flic Wireless Smart Button

Meet Flic - a wireless smart button you can place anywhere and click to trigger over 40 apps and features in your phone: from ordering an Uber to setting an alarm to playing music. 

Flic recently used our open APIs to add Wink Shortcuts to that list. Here’s a few examples of how clicking Flic to trigger a Wink Shortcut can make life a little bit easier:

Say you have a ‘Welcome Home’ Shortcut setup that turns on the lights, adjusts the thermostat, and puts your camera into Home mode. Place a Flic on your car dashboard, connect it with your Shortcut, and press it when you’re pulling into the driveway for a more convenient arrival home. 

Or maybe you have a ‘Goodnight’ Shortcut and are in bed ready for sleep, but you left your phone plugged in downstairs. Place a Flic on your bedside table, press it when the yawning becomes unavoidable, and your home will power down (all without you having to make the groggy trip downstairs).

Please note, Wink Shortcuts that contain garage door openers or unlock doors are not compatible with Flic at this time.

The beauty of Flic is you can place it wherever you want. Now, with support for Wink Shortcuts, bringing your smart home to life from the places that are most convenient for you has never been easier!

Want to try it out for yourself? Getting started is easy and Flic has a step-by-step guide here.

Meet LaiYee Ho: Wink’s User Experience Manager

In 2016 we introduced Matt Bornski, the man behind the scenes of Wink’s enterprise services team. We’re kicking off Wink Employee Spotlights in 2017 with LaiYee Ho, Wink’s User Experience Manager. Take it from us, her messy desk definitely doesn’t stop her from shaping the future of the smart home:

Q: You’re the user experience manager at Wink. What does that mean?

A: I lead an awesome team of UX researchers at Wink. We dig deep to understand the underlying needs and behaviors of our users, as well as the social and environmental context that they live in. We then facilitate workshops to translate our findings into user journeys and storyboards that help guide how we build future products and features. 

Q: What got you interested in Wink in the first place?

A: I’ve always been fascinated by how the design of physical and digital spaces shape behaviors and experiences. Since Wink is at the intersection of software, hardware, and the built environment, it opens up a lot of possibilities for ways we can improve people’s lives. 

Q: What’s your favorite thing about working at Wink?

A: I love that it’s a small, scrappy team taking on huge problems that impact the way people live every day. We also have a very collaborative culture. 

Q: Which three words would you use to describe working at Wink?

A: Creative, adaptive, gritty.

Q: If you could choose anything in the world to work with Wink, what would it be and why?

A: The foundational infrastructure of homes. We would be able to solve problems very holistically from the ground up.

Q: What’s been your proudest professional moment?

A: It was the first time I saw someone in a testing session really love a product I helped build. By that point, I must have seen the design fail a million times. But after months of hard work and collaboration, finally building a cohesive product that a real person in the world truly enjoyed was one of the happiest moments of my life. 

Q: Where do you see the smart home in 5 years?

A: The smart home will go beyond being called “smart”, and it will just be “home.” Smart home experiences will cater to everyday pain points.  

Q: What do you like to do when you’re not working?

A: I love to take fitness classes around the city. HIIT, boxing, bootcamp...I’m very addicted. 

Q: If Wink awarded superlatives, what would you win?

A: Messiest desk. I’m notorious for the stacks of paper, sticky notes, and books piled up in my space. Someone gave me a copy of “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”, and I lost it under my pile of stuff.

Q: If you could resurrect one obsolete technology, what would you choose?

A: Handwritten notes. In grade school, my friends and I used to pass notebooks back and forth between classes to chat with one another. I love that years later, I can still flip through these and have a very physical connection with my memories. It’s a lot more visceral than scrolling through Facebook feeds.

 

Wink Now Works with the August Smart Lock

Today, we’d like to formally welcome August Home to the Wink family! 

With a suite of intuitive, beautifully designed products and services, August Home gives you total control over your front door no matter where you are.

Through our latest mobile app release, you can now use an August Smart Lock paired to an August Connect with Wink. The August Smart Lock is compatible with most single-cylinder deadbolts used in many homes and only replaces the interior side. Your exterior lock hardware stays the same. The August Connect is what enables remote access and control of your lock.

Once connected to Wink, you can monitor the status of your August Smart Lock, lock or unlock it from afar, and receive alerts when activity takes place, all within the Wink app. 

You can also add the August Smart Lock to existing or new Wink Shortcuts and Robots to further automate your home. For example, a “Goodnight” Shortcut could be used to automatically lock your front door while turning off the lights and adjusting the temperature with just one tap in the Wink app. With an “I’m Home” Robot, unlocking your August Smart Lock can trigger the hallway lights to illuminate and your smart blinds to open.

Wink strives to bring the best products from the most trusted brands together, and we’re very excited to expand our smart home security footprint with Wink + August Home.  

Enjoy!

How To: Use Z-Wave Controls

Did you know there’s a number of (perhaps less commonly known) ways to access and modify Z-Wave products that are connected to your Wink Hub?

They’re called Z-Wave Controls and they can be found and triggered in the Wink app. 

Many of you have asked for more information about Z-Wave Controls, so we’re breaking each command down so you know exactly what they do and how they can make controlling your smart home more efficient than ever:

Accessing Z-Wave Controls

  1. Go to the main Hub page within the app.
  2. Select the settings icon in the upper right corner.
  3. Select your Wink Hub.
  4. Scroll down and select Z-Wave Controls.


Z-Wave Network Rediscovery

Z-Wave Network Rediscovery prompts the Wink Hub to rediscover and redraw its map of the Z-Wave mesh network, and forces each connected device to update its own internal map of the mesh network.

Primary use case: You’re connecting new Z-Wave devices to Wink or moving existing ones to new locations and want to improve speed and reliability.

Caution: During a network rediscovery, large amounts of Z-Wave network traffic are created as each device rediscovers which other devices are nearby. During this process, normal commands (such as attempting to control a device) may not operate as reliably.


Reset Z-Wave

This command resets the Z-Wave routing table, effectively erasing all connected Z-Wave devices and corresponding automations.

Primary use case: You’re taking your Wink Hub to your new home but want to leave your Z-Wave products behind for the next occupant. 

Caution: All Z-Wave devices and their automations will be removed from your Wink Hub and Wink account. After performing a reset, each Z-Wave device that was previously on the network will need to be individually excluded from the network before it can be included again.

Inclusion mode

Inclusion mode broadcasts a message from the Wink Hub to nearby Z-Wave devices saying it’s ready to connect a new product. This is essentially the same command that is sent when you reach the final step of the “Add a Product” instructions. 

Primary use case: You’ve already paired a Z-Wave switch to the Wink Hub. Instead of going through the “Add a Product” instructions to connect a second or third switch, this button can be pressed along with the appropriate device-specific commands for faster setup!

Exclusion mode

Exclusion mode removes a Z-Wave device from the network. 

Primary use case: If you have a Z-Wave product that was previously connected to a another platform’s hub, it must first be excluded before it can be added to the Wink Hub. By pressing “Exclusion Mode” the Wink Hub sends a message to the device telling it to forget its original network in preparation to join a new one.

Learning Mode & Shift Controller

Both Learning Mode and Shift Controller are more advanced commands. In short, Learning Mode allows the  Wink Hub to be included into another Z-Wave controller’s network (including but not limited to Wink Hubs). Shift Controller transfers ownership from one Z-Wave Controller to another. 

4 Ways to Winterize Your Smart Home

Snow and ice covered the ground in 49 of 50 states this weekend so we think it’s safe to say that winter is officially here. Love it or hate it, the cold, wind, and snow that the season brings can have a challenging impact on both your home and daily routine. Luckily, winterizing your home couldn’t be easier thanks to a few connected devices and easy-to-set-up automations in the Wink app: 

Combat the threat of frozen pipes

The possibility of bursting pipes during this time of year is too high for any homeowner to take lightly. Avoid costly, inconvenient water damage by placing water sensors near potential trouble spots like the dishwasher or washing machine. We like the the leakSMART Valve and Sensor Kit.

Connect the leakSMART Valve to your home’s main water supply and then place the Sensors throughout your home. Pair your valve and sensors to your Wink Hub, then using the Wink app, enable a Robot that will automatically shut off your home’s main water source if any of sensors detect a leak. 

In addition to leak detection, the leakSMART Sensors monitor room temperature so you can keep tabs on your home’s climate from afar (and remotely shut off your water supply if it gets cold enough to freeze pipes.

Keep your home well lit with Schedules

The days are slowly starting to get longer, but the sun is still likely setting well before you get home at night. With a Schedule in the Wink app, you can arrive to a bright home and make it appear like someone is there during those long work nights or (hopefully tropical) holidays. It’s easy to set up and will prompt all your connected lights to automatically turn on every night at sunset. Check out the lighting section of our partner product page for the full rundown of connected light bulbs that work with Wink. 

Avoid black ice on the front walkway with a motion sensor

It’s difficult and dangerous to detect ice and slippery surfaces in the dark. To combat the threat, combine the power of motion sensors with connected lights. The Ring Video Doorbell (which is great for seeing who is at the front door no matter where you are) can be connected with connected light bulbs on your porch with a Robot in the Wink app. From there, anytime Ring detects motion, the front lights turn on so your walk to the front door is safely lit. 

Save energy and money with a smart thermostat

Home heating bills skyrocket this time of year - it’s inevitable. Make your home more energy efficient (and save money along the way) with a smart thermostat like the one by Nest or ecobee. These thermostats let you adjust your home’s temperature from afar through the Wink app, learn your heating and cooling preferences over time, and automatically turn off when you’re away.

How are you using your smart home to tackle winter? Let us know in the comments — we want to hear!

Wink’s 2016 Holiday Gift Guide

Still looking for the perfect holiday gift? Check out a few recommended smart home products from Wink that are sure to delight anyone on your list:

For the busy parent: Wink Relay ($149 at Wink.com)

Relay is a touchscreen control panel that replaces a light switch and brings your Wink smart home right to your wall. Use Relay to check the weather, control connected devices, track your Fitbit steps, or even call an Uber. Multiple Relays can be used as an in-home intercom.
For parents on the go, the two buttons to the right of the control panel can linked to dozens of time saving, peace of mind enabling IFTTT automations. One we’re particularly fond of: when your child gets home from school and presses one of the Relay buttons, you get a text notification.

 

For the frequent traveler: Schlage Connect Touchscreen Deadbolt ($202 at Amazon.com)

We’ve all had that moment of panic on our way to the airport, that a door was left unlocked. Schlage Connect is perfect for forgetful friends who travel often, because it turns their smartphone into a virtual key. 

Use the Wink app to lock and unlock door and create “keys” for visitors by granting access at specific times or with unique entry codes. The Wink app’s activity feed keeps track of who's entering and exiting your house. 

 

For the online shopping addict: Ring Video Doorbell ($180 at HomeDepot.com)

Sure, online shopping is fun and convenient, but actually receiving the packages can be another story. Ring offers both security and convenience, by creating a Wink Robot that notifies you when someone is at your door, you can quickly check to see if it’s a friend at your door or the mailman looking for delivery confirmation. It’s ideal for someone who receives a lot of packages but isn’t home during the day to receive them.

 

For the DIY-er: Philips Hue ($199 at Amazon.com)

Philips Hue bulbs can glow any one of 16 million different colors or 50,000 shades of white, so you can “redecorate” any room at any time to match mood, season, or activity. Turn them red and green during the holidays, or program them to automatically dim the color of sunrise to wake up your home every morning.

 

For the smart home newbie: Wink Quick-Start Kit ($69 at Wink.com)

Remember that book “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie”? Well, the Wink Quick-Start Kit is the ultimate cookie. With a Wink Hub and two connected bulbs, soon-to-be first time smart home users will be hooked before they finish their first glass of milk. 

 

For the most organized person you know: Amazon Echo ($140 at Amazon.com)

Set a timer, listen to music, answer questions, read audiobooks, check game scores, and control your Wink lights, Nest Thermostats, and Shortcuts. The real question is, what can’t you do with Amazon Alexa? 

 

For anyone and everyone in your life: Wink Hub 2 ($99 at Wink.com)

Wink Hub 2 is the first smart home hub designed for everyone — regardless of technical know-how — so it makes a practical yet fun gift for anyone you think would enjoy the magic of a smart home.  

It brings your lights, locks, thermostats, sensors, and more together into the Wink mobile app, so you can easily monitor and control your home. Wink Hub 2 works with hundreds of connected devices from dozens of brands and new partners are added all the time. 

25 ways Wink makes the holidays easier (and more fun!)

With a Wink-powered smart home, choose exactly how you celebrate the most wonderful time of the year. Here are some ideas to get you into the holiday spirit:

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  1. Baby it’s cold outside. Create a unique code for guests to punch into your smart locks so they’re not waiting in the snow. 
  2. Protect packages by telling the courier where to hide them with the Ring Video Doorbell’s two-way talk feature.
  3. Unsure if you're in for a white Christmas? Wink Relay displays the weather on your wall.
  4. Watching “Elf” again? Use a “Movie Night” Shortcut in the Wink app to dim the living room lights.
  5. Schedule your Christmas tree, electric Menorah, or outdoor decorations to light up at sunset every night.
  6. Use a smart thermostat to only heat up the rooms you’re using. Holidays are expensive enough. No need to waste money on unnecessarily high energy bills.
  7. Holiday entertaining is exhausting. Plug your coffee maker into a smart plug and schedule it to start brewing automatically every morning, so you can catch a few more ZZZZZs.
  8. Quickly and affordably add some holiday cheer to your home by using color-changing smart bulbs, which can glow red, green, or millions of other colors. 
  9. Let yourself sleep in — it’s dark most of the time now, anyway — with motorized blinds that can be programmed to open up late.
  10. When your Google Calendar “Vacation” event begins, Wink + IFTTT will automatically power down your home.
  11. Use Wink-compatible cameras to watch live video of your living room on your phone to make sure the cat hasn’t sabotaged the tree.
  12. If the kitchen heats up while you’re baking sugar cookies, a smart thermostat will cool it down automatically to your preferred temperature. 
  13. Plug your slow cooker into a smart outlet to start cooking that delicious, oversized ham while you’re out doing last minute shopping.
  14. Help out-of-towners navigate the house at night by placing a motion sensor in the hallway, triggering lights to lead them to the bathroom.
  15. When meals are ready, call family into the dining room using your Relay home intercom system. You’ve worked hard enough.
  16. Use Relay + Fitbit to stay on top of your fitness goals. Calories don’t count again until January, but might as well keep an eye on your step count!
  17. Already left for the airport, but suspect you left the garage door open? One tap in the Wink app can secure your house.
  18. Accidentally leave the curling iron on after you headed out to a holiday party? If it’s plugged into a smart plug, use the Wink app to turn it off from afar. 
  19. Order an Uber from your Relay and have a fun, safe New Year’s Eve celebration.
  20. Create a “Holiday” Shortcut to impress family and friends. One tap turns on decorative lights and plays a holiday playlist over the speakers.
  21. Use motion sensors to check if the closet full of presents has been opened.
  22. With winter comes the possibility of frozen pipes. Always be in the know by placing smart water sensors near big appliances - they’ll send you a notification if water is detected so you can investigate before you need the galoshes. 
  23. Live in a warmer climate and don’t want Santa’s sleigh parked on your lawn? Turn on your smart sprinkler from inside to scare off his reindeer.
  24. Let Alexa read the kids “The Night Before Christmas” this year. Go to bed early.
  25. Give the gift of Wink! Wink Hub 2 is brand new for Holiday 2016.

7 Ways Wink Makes Thanksgiving Easy as (Pumpkin) Pie

Isn’t Thanksgiving the best? The food, friends and family, the food, four-day weekend, oh and did we mention the leftover food. 

But any brave soul who has hosted Thanksgiving at their home no longer sees the holiday through rose-colored glasses. Preparing all the dishes and entertaining guests while still finding time to relish the day is no small feat. If Thanksgiving is at your place this year, try these quick and easy smart home tricks that will help the day run a little bit smoother:

Plan ahead: Fill your light fixtures with smart bulbs and set a Schedule in the Wink app. The lights will automatically dim just in time for the tryptophan to kick in. 

 

Make everyone feel welcome: Guests arriving a little earlier than expected or are you simply too busy to answer the door? Not a problem. Smart door locks can be unlocked from wherever you are right through the Wink app. You can even create a temporary code so your guests can come and go as they please. Focus on keeping the party running while receiving alerts from Wink when the door is opened or closed.

 

"Switch" it up: Save some coveted oven space and make your green bean casserole in the slow cooker this year. Even better - plug in your crock pot to a smart switch and turn it on from afar with one tap in the Wink app. It’s the perfect way to keep the cooking going during that last minute grocery store trip. 

 

Keep it cozy: Wink Robots are a simple way to program your products to work together automatically based on triggers. For example, if the kitchen heats up while you’re cooking, Wink can automatically cool it down to your preferred temperature. After dinner the house will return to its normal temperature. 

 

Don’t miss a minute: If you can’t be in front of the TV for Thanksgiving football, check the score by asking Alexa. 

 

Corral the family: Have multiple Wink Relays installed? When dinner is ready, call everyone into the dining room using Relay’s in-home intercom system. Just press the microphone icon on the top left of the touchscreen, talk as you would normally, and your message will be broadcasted to the other Relays throughout your home. 

 

Set the scene: Customize your very own Thanksgiving dinner mood with a Wink Shortcut. With one tap in the Wink app, the lights turn to a warm dim, your custom playlist starts playing, and appliances plugged into smart switches are turned off — finally you can relax and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

 

Meet Wink’s Newest Compatible Security Cameras

Whether you’re on vacation, or want to make sure your furry friend hasn’t made a mess while you’re at work, a smart security camera is a perfect (and easy way) to have peace of mind about what’s happening at home. Today we’re excited to welcome two new industry-leading products to Wink’s growing ecosystem of compatible cameras: NETGEAR Arlo and Ring Stick Up Cam. If you’re not familiar, here’s a short primer on each: 
 

NETGEAR Arlo

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NETGEAR’s suite of Arlo cameras keep every angle of your home and business covered so you can know with confidence that someone has your back while you’re away. Add your Wink-compatible Arlo camera to an existing Robot to trigger actions in other smart products if motion or sound is detected. Wink currently supports three Arlo models:

  • Arlo: Wireless and weatherproof, Arlo provides HD quality video wherever you want a second pair of eyes.
  • Arlo Q: With AC-power, 1080p HD video, 2-way audio, and enhanced night vision, Arlo Q ups the ante in home security.
  • Arlo Q Plus: Designed for business applications, Arlo Q Plus delivers flexible power and connectivity options, including an Ethernet port for smoother reliability.

Ring Stick Up Cam

We’ve big fans of the Ring Video Doorbell and are thrilled to expand our compatibility with Ring’s product family by introducing the Ring Stick Up Cam to Wink. You can mount Stick Up Cam anywhere to see, hear, and speak with your visitors. Customize motion zones and sensitivity to activate Stick Up Cam and have alerts sent to the Wink app. 

Check Out Wink’s New Manhattan HQ

When Wink launched in 2014, we established our roots in a tiny (sadly now leveled) garage in the heart of SoHo. A New York interpretation of the classic Silicon Valley startup origin story, if you will. The heating didn't work in the winter, we had a mouse problem, and there was only one bathroom for over 40 people. But it was our first home and we loved it.

Since those early days we've switched locations countless times, always bringing the "garage" moniker along with us.

We're now starting a new chapter in a new garage. One that we've designed to evolve with us for the foreseeable future as we bring our vision of the smart home to life. Located in the historic Terminal Warehouse building near Hudson Yards, our new Manhattan office is home base for Wink's growing engineering, design, business, and operations teams. 

Scroll through the gallery below for a first look at the space.

You'll notice a few empty desks here and there. If you're interested in helping us fill those out, we want to hear from you. We're always looking for great new talent to join the Wink team. Check out our list of current openings here!

 

 

How To: Transfer Products From Your Wink Hub to Wink Hub 2

If you’re an original Wink Hub owner considering an upgrade to Wink Hub 2, we’ve made it quick and easy to move all of your connected devices, automations, and personal settings from the Wink Hub to Wink Hub 2.

Just make sure you have version 5.1 of the Wink app installed, follow these steps (the Wink app will do the heavy lifting), and the transition will be effortless.

Hub Transfer Process

Step 1: Make sure your original Wink Hub is plugged in and updated with the latest firmware version. 

Step 2: Plug in your Wink Hub 2 and the Wink app will automatically detect and connect it to your Wink account. Wink Hub 2 will then complete an update so that it’s running latest firmware version.

Step 3: Once the update is complete, the Wink app will then ask if you would like to transfer the products from your Wink Hub to Wink Hub 2. You may begin the transfer immediately, or choose to do it later by tapping “No, I’ll use both Hubs.” The transfer menu can later be accessed from the Hub Settings page within the Wink app.

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Step 4: Enter your Wink account password to initiate the transfer. The transfer typically completes in a matter of minutes and in no more than ten minutes.

*In the unlikely event there is an error during the transfer process, the Wink app will prompt you with an error message.

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Step 5: Once completed, a success message will appear in the app. All of your products and settings, including the Hub name, will be restored under your new Wink Hub 2. Your original Wink Hub will revert to factory settings.

Reconnecting Lutron Products

The transfer process will migrate all Lutron products, and the automations you've created with them, over to Wink Hub 2. After the transfer is completed, Wink will prompt you to connect each of your Lutron products with one tap in the Wink app, and one quick physical interaction on each product. The reason for this is that Lutron's proprietary radio does not allow for direct product transfer.


Step 6: Once the transfer process completes, you will be prompted to reconnect your Lutron products. Tap “Reconnect” and you will see a full list of your Lutron products. You can also do this at a later time (just keep in mind that Lutron products will remain offline until this is completed).

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Step 7: Tap “Connect” next to each Lutron product and follow the in-app prompts.  If you decide to do this at a later time, you’ll be prompted with a banner the next time Wink detects you have Lutron products that need to be reconnected.

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Step 8: After each Lutron product is reconnected, a green checkmark will appear next to it. Once all of your Lutron products have been reconnected, tap “Done.”

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Then you’re good to go!

 

Wink Hub 2 Is Now Available

It’s stronger. It’s faster. It’s more reliable. And starting today, you can purchase it for just $99 USD on Wink.com. Wink Hub 2 is now available.

When we first took to the drawing board, we knew we wanted Wink Hub 2 to be for everyone, regardless of technical know-how or familiarity with the smart home. Every new hardware feature and software improvement was created and designed with that in mind.

If you’re a veteran user, Wink Hub 2 has a much more powerful processor, enabling us to run advanced automations locally while making control of your smart products lightning fast. Original Wink Hub owners that want to upgrade can also take advantage of our new hub-to-hub transfer process, which migrates your smart home over to Wink Hub 2 in just a few minutes through the Wink app.

If you’re just getting your feet wet with the smart home, we think you’ll like the dramatically simplified setup process, the Ethernet port that improves network connectivity, and the industrial-grade security features. We’re also all about providing choice when it comes to buying connected devices. That’s why Wink Hub 2 works with more smart home technologies than any other hub — so you can choose from hundreds of products by 31 trusted brands.

We’re proud of what we’ve created and we hope you enjoy it!

In addition to Wink.com, Wink Hub 2 is available today at Amazon.com, The Home Depot, and select Walmart stores nationwide. Availability at Home Depot Canada will follow in the coming weeks. The original Wink Hub is available for $69 USD while supplies last and we will continue to support and update it just as we always have.

Announcing the Winner of our 2016 Halloween Contest!

A few weeks ago we kicked off our first-ever Wink Halloween Contest by asking Wink users to share how they’re making home automation part of the Halloween fun this year. We’ve received a ton of spook-tactular submissions - from over-the-top lighting displays to elaborate yard decorations that come to life to spook trick-or-treaters.

With that in mind, we’re excited to announce that this year’s winner is Brett Marek!

Every night at sunset, Brett’s home comes to life thanks to Halloween Schedule he set up in the Wink app. The second dusk turns to night, Brett’s SYLVANIA Gardenspots turn a perfect combination of orange to give his yard a spooky feel while the patio glows with various string lights connected to an outdoor GE Plug in Module. He gives the spiders, skeletons, and other decorations  around the home and yard a ghostly aura with various spotlights plugged into GE switches.

Congratulations to Brett! If you want to check out some of the other great entries, follow us on Twitter, @TheWinkApp.

With the holidays just around the corner, we hope this inspires you to get creative with your smart products in the months to come!

In the meantime, Happy Halloween!

It’s National Customer Service Week - meet the Wink Support Team!

The first week of October marks National Customer Service Week. Companies across the country recognize and celebrate the employees at the front lines of their business and the work they deliver to ensure each and every customer is a happy one. 

Throughout the week we will highlight some of the folks whom you may have spoken to on the phone, over email, chat, or one of our social media pages. Each and every member of our customer support team plays a crucial role in the success of Wink, and we are very excited to introduce you to some members of the team! 

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Andy Marshall
Technical Support Representative 

Q. What is your position at Wink?
A. I've been a Technical Support Representative at Wink for almost two years now. I serve as a first contact for problems, concerns, questions, compliments, or anything else customers have on their minds. I do my best to keep customers connected and online as well as track down and relay information to other teams as feedback comes in.

Q. What’s your favorite part about working at Wink?
A. I love my office and I love the people I work with day in and day out. We really strive to be the absolute best and that attitude is contagious. I also think it's fun to work at a company on the frontier of an industry and to see things happening so quickly around me.

Q. If Wink had superlatives, what would yours be and why?
A. Caffeine Junkie - I'll take a large, iced Americano, please.

Q. If Wink were an animal, what would it be?
A. Dolphin, because of how smart and fast they are.

Q. What's the best line you've ever gotten from a customer?
A. A customer recently told me she was "proud of Wink" for being closed on Sundays. I told her it was our pleasure!

Anthony Tedesco
Customer Support Supervisor

Q. What is your position at Wink and why do you feel it is important?
A. As supervisors, we try to navigate the customer service department through the ever-changing environment that is the home automation industry. From the customers it attracts, right down to the tech itself.

Q. What’s your favorite part about working at Wink?
A. It's just flippin' cool! This is a very exciting time to be in and around home automation, and the people I work with are fantastic.

Q. If Wink had superlatives, what would yours be?
A. Most likely to be in the kitchen! Man's gotta eat!

Q. Describe your perfect day off.
A. Wake up late, light breakfast, then off to the gym to play basketball. DOMINATE. Jam a little on the drums (hopefully with some friends), then video games 'til muh eyes bleed! Finish it off with dinner (2" porterhouse & red wine please!) and a movie. *phew!*

Q. Where do you see the smart home in 5 years?
A. Well that's the thing, isn't it? You won't SEE the smart home in 5 years because it will be integrated into everything seamlessly by then. Or maybe that's 10 years? Who knows! Either way, that's the direction it's headed.

Q. What's the best line you've ever gotten from a customer?
A. "How am I supposed to get this to work if I don't have the internet or a cell phone?!"


Check out our Twitter handle, @TheWinkApp for a new featured employee every day this week! 

Alexa Can Now Control Wink Lighting Shortcuts

Hey Alexa fans! Starting today, you can now control Shortcuts that include only Wink-compatible lighting products (light bulbs and switches) with a simple voice command.

Say you have a bunch of lights in the living room that you want to turn off, dim, or change the color of as you’re sitting down for a movie

  1. Set up a “Movie Time” Shortcut in the Wink app, and adjust your lighting products to the desired settings
  2. Go into the Alexa app and select “Discover devices”
  3. Your Shortcut will be discovered, and from there, you’re set!

Simply say "Alexa, turn on Movie Time" and your living room turns into your very own home theater. Go through the above steps to create a “Movie Time Over” Shortcut to change the lights back with Alexa when the movie is over by saying "Alexa, turn on Movie Time Over."

Just keep in mind that if you change the name of your Shortcut in the Wink app, you’ll need to select “Discover devices” in the Alexa app again.

Shortcuts that include non-lighting products will not be discovered by Alexa, but stay tuned, as we’re continuing to work on expanding Alexa support!

 

Introducing Wink Hub 2

In 2014, Wink set out to make the smart home simple, intuitive, and accessible. 

A big part of turning that mission into reality was the Wink Hub.

By including support for all major smart home device protocols, we gave consumers the flexibility to choose the products they like from the brands they trust. Our users have connected over 1.7 million products to Wink as a result. It also allowed us to be inclusive in our partnerships. If a product adds meaningful value for Wink users, we'll look for ways to bring it aboard regardless of the manufacturer. Today, there are 31 companies that work with Wink. 

We're proud of what the Wink Hub has enabled us to accomplish, but it was just the beginning.

Meet Wink Hub 2

Since the launch of the original Hub, we've listened carefully to your feedback, comments, and questions to see if we could improve. We've done a ton of research to make our setup process easier,  and to find out how families and individuals are using Wink. We've taken that feedback to heart and created a next generation smart home hub that's unlike any other. Better, faster, more reliable, and more secure, Wink Hub 2 unlocks the magic of the smart home, today.

  • Improved connectivity: A new Wi-Fi radio that supports both 2.4 and 5GHz networks and the introduction of an Ethernet port provide a more reliable and smooth network connection.
  • Industry leading device support: We've improved the Bluetooth LE radio in Wink Hub 2 and introduced a Thread-capable radio. That, along with support for Kidde, Lutron Clear Connect, Wi-Fi, Z-Wave, and ZigBee means Wink Hub 2 works with more smart home technologies than any other.
  • Local control for Schedules and Robots: With a faster processor and 8x more memory, Wink Hub 2 runs advanced automations like Schedules (which prompt certain actions to take place at certain times of the day) and Robots (through which one product can trigger a series of actions in other products) locally for increased speed and reliability. 
  • Enhanced security: New hardware features - including cryptographic verification - have been added to prevent tampering, and ensure Wink Hub 2 only runs trusted software. 
  • Refined design: 25% slimmer, Wink Hub 2 sports a sleeker look and more elegant finish. We wanted it to be worthy of being featured prominently in the home, instead of gathering dust in a cabinet next to your router. The vertical design also ensures Wink Hub 2 communicates with your smart products smoothly.

Check out more about Wink Hub on our website here.

Wink app 5.0 to bring major software upgrades

Version 5.0 of the Wink software - soon to be released - introduces a number of industry-firsts to the Wink mobile app.

  • Easier setup: The Wink app will auto-discover your Wink Hub 2 when you plug it in for the first time and prompt you to connect it to your account. The already intuitive setup process has been drastically simplified to be even faster and easier.
  • Hub-to-hub transfer process: We've built a brand new infrastructure that will allow current Wink Hub owners to transfer over their smart products, automations, and personal settings to Wink Hub 2. It all occurs effortlessly within the Wink app in a matter of minutes.

Where can I buy Wink Hub 2?

We're really excited to announce that Wink Hub 2 will be coming to Walmart as Wink strives to bring our vision of an accessible smart home to millions of consumers in new markets.

Wink Hub 2 has an MSRP of $99 (U.S.) and will be available in late October at The Home Depot, select Walmart stores and on Walmart.com, Amazon.com, and Wink.com. The Wink mobile app is available for free download through the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

What if I already own a Wink Hub?

Rest assured that we will continue to support the original Wink Hub just as we always have, with new features and partner product integrations coming soon. We're not switching it off, nor is our commitment to it changing in any way.

The original Wink Hub is still available for purchase for $69 (U.S.) while supplies last at The Home Depot, Amazon.com, and Wink.com. 

Bringing the smart home to everyone, everywhere

We believe the smart home should, and can, make life safer, more seamless, and a little bit easier.

Whether that's making sure the doors are locked, garage shut, and temperature adjusted when you're ready for bed, triggering the hallway lights if smoke is detected, or simply being able to shut off an appliance from afar, we've got your back.

Wink Hub 2 takes the smart home to the next level and we can't wait for you to experience it. Stay tuned! 

Meet Matt Bornski: Wink’s Director & Chief Architect of Enterprise Services

 

We’re lucky to have a team full of loud characters and larger than life personalities. Get to know Matt Bornski - the self-professed chattiest of them all - who has been with Wink since 2013 and is our Director & Chief Architect of Enterprise Services (a mysterious and very important role).

 

Q: You’re the Director & Chief Architect of Enterprise Services at Wink. What does that mean?

A: As the director of enterprise services, I try to find new markets and partnerships beyond the traditional notion of the smart home. 

As the chief architect, I make sure these partnerships build on the strengths of the platform and contribute to our user-focused mission. 

Q: What got you interested in Wink in the first place?

A: I was dabbling in home automation in my spare time for a year or two before Wink. I decided I really wanted to make my hobby into my job, and was introduced to Wink’s founder Nathan Smith. Hearing what he wanted to do with Wink got me excited.

Q: What’s your favorite thing about working at Wink?

A: The product is actually useful to real people. It passes the “grandma test,” which means I can explain it to my grandma without cutting too many corners. When I pour my heart into a product, and spend a lot of waking hours on it, it’s incredibly satisfying to be able to have my friends and family understand what it does.

Q: Which three words would you use to describe working at Wink?

A: Focused, fierce, fun.

Q: If you could choose anything in the world to work with Wink, what would it be and why?

A: The “wake-up light,” which is a light that gradually brightens prior to your phone’s scheduled alarm time, making it easy to get out of bed when the alarm goes off. 

Q: Where do you see the smart home in 5 years?

A: I’m a big believer that I shouldn’t have to be at home to have a smart environment. I look forward to building a world in which cars, trains, planes, airports, hotels, and streets all make my life a little easier.

Q: What do you like to do when you’re not working?

A: I’m a recovering outdoorsman, so sometimes I’ll still make time for camping or hiking. I live in downtown San Jose and you’ll often find me pushing a stroller between a few of our finer taprooms, helping out my pub quiz team. If it’s a nice day you might catch me going for a run or bike ride, and if it’s football season I will not miss a Bears game for any price.

Q: If Wink awarded superlatives, what would you win?

A: Chattiest. Slack keeps stats of this and can confirm.

Q: If you could resurrect one obsolete technology, what would you choose?

A: Semaphore flags. Life would be more awesome if instead of, for instance, stock tickers, we had great colorful flags waving every which way to communicate.

Q: If Wink were an animal, what would it be and why?

A: Definitely an otter because they’re sleek but highly functional and intelligent. They use the right tool for the task at hand instead of relying on brute force. Plus it looks super fun to be an otter.

User Spotlight: How Wink Helped Steph Courdin regain independence

The beauty of the smart home is how customizable it can be. Some like it for the energy savings it affords. Others for the convenience of knowing they can monitor the status of their home at any time with a quick glance. 

For former software customer success manager Steph Courdin, the smart home has provided a new lease on the mobility that ALS - a terminal neuron disorder - has taken away from his daily life.

A resident of Lakewood, Colorado, Steph was diagnosed with ALS in 2013, joining a community of 30,000 Americans living with ALS/MND and a broader group of 3.3 million whose impaired movement requires a wheelchair.

In a large multi-story home with his wife and three children, living with this disorder makes many everyday activities difficult. Muscular degeneration prevents Steph from raising his hands high enough to reach a light switch or his thermostat, which is inaccessibly located on the second floor.

After trying a variety of different home automation systems, last Christmas Steph found an unlikely solution to regain some autonomy. By connecting various household products with Wink, he found he could easily access and control them just like the rest of his family.

Today, the Courdins have a Wink HUB, Honeywell thermostat, seven GE Link bulbs, six Cree Bulbs, Chamberlain’s MyQ garage door opener (his only wheelchair accessible entrance), a Ring video doorbell, and an Amazon Echo (which has quickly become one of Steph’s wife Stacey’s favorite products). He is able to easily adjust temperature, lighting, and more, all from the Wink app on his iPhone which is mounted to his wheelchair. With the assistive touch feature, the sky’s the limit as to what Steph can do with Wink. 

Steph has parlayed his own experience with Wink into speaking with ALS support groups so that others can understand how the smart home might make a difference in their daily lives:

“Wink has made home automation a simple & affordable option, accessible to everyone (compared to thousands of dollars remodeling) especially those of us battling ALS/MND and the limits the diseases impose on trying to live a normal life. I was an avid snowboarder, downhill mountain biker, and equestrian enthusiast. Now, just raising an arm for a light switch is a near impossible task.” 

Stories like Steph’s are what keep us going. Hearing that Wink can make a positive impact on someone’s daily life is proof that our mission to make the smart home accessible for everyone is one worth fighting for.