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.

A QUICK Q&A WITH A LONG TIME WINK USER

Kevin Hiser is a very busy guy. He has to balance launching technology startups and raising his two-year old son with wife Allison in Columbus, Ohio. A a longtime user of Wink, we recently caught up with him to learn more about how his smart home is making everyday life just a little bit easier:

WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO MAKE YOUR HOME "SMART"?

We have a pretty sprawling single family home and wanted to be able to easily control lighting throughout the house and manage security.

WHEN DOES A SMART HOME COME IN HANDY?

Multiple times I’ve found myself deciding that I want to turn off my thermostat when it wasn’t scheduled to do so, from as far away as Dallas. It’s also great for when you want to turn multiple lights on/off or open the garage door remotely to let someone inside the house.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO GO WITH WINK OVER OTHER SMART HOME PLATFORMS?

I liked how easy Wink is to use. Our family has found the interface is nice easy to understand and visually brilliant. I appreciate the ability of the Wink HUB to manage devices that run on a variety of communication protocols (Zigbee, Z-Wave, WiFi, etc). As more smart devices become available, I won’t have to worry about whether or not they’ll connect with what I already have set up.

DO YOU CONNECT YOUR SMART PRODUCTS SO THEY WORK TOGETHER?

Yes! The Robots feature in Wink is great for this. For security purposes, I have one set up that automatically turns on the hall light outside my bedroom if someone triggers my GoControl motion sensor after midnight so I can see what's going on.

For "peace of mind" I have another Robot that turns on a lamp in my foyer if my wife and son are coming home after sunset. They never have to enter a dark house! I also use a Robot to help me keep the temperature of my home within a certain range and send me alerts on my phone when it’s nearing the minimum or maximum.

DOES YOUR FAMILY LIKE IT?

My two-year-old actually loves turning the lights on/off on my phone!

WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE PART OF HAVING A SMART HOME?

It takes the thinking out of doing everyday tasks in my life.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE CONSIDERING THE SMART HOME?

Start out by selecting a connected device that doesn’t require a ton of technical know-how in order to operate. Keep it simple and don’t lock yourself into a closed system.