We should have seen this coming when General Electric and Quirky, a platform that helps inventor ideas come to life, first released a smart air conditioner in March.
Now Quirky is set to release a hardware hub to connect all of its smart home and compatible appliances — its latest move to conquer the smart home market.
Last year Quirky and General Electric teamed-up for two projects. The first is a platform that opens up many of General Electric’s patents to the Quirky community to inspire innovation and product development. The second, is Wink: a co-branded project aimed at developing a full line of app-enabled devices for the home.
Due to its early success and/or promise, Wink is about to become its own company, according to the New York Times. The company’s main technology is software that works like an operating system to connect all of your automated home devices. With the tap of Wink’s mobile app, a user is able to configure everything from a light that turns on when you walk in the door to security system settings. As a companion, Wink has just developed a hardware hub, so that devices that operate on Bluetooth, ZigBee, and Z-Wave, rather than Wi-Fi, can also connect to Wink.
So far Wink has partnered with 15 companies to build 60 Wink-enabled products, including Honeywell, Phillips, and Rachio, according to the Times. Home Depot has also agreed to partner with Wink to connect all of its smart home devices. The Wink hub will be released on July 7, as will the updated app. You can buy the hub via Home Depot or Amazon for $79, while the Wink app will be available on Apple’s App Store and on Google Play for the Android app.
To cement the partnership, General Electric contributed $30 million to Quirky’s last round of funding. Both companies are on track to release a series of 30 products that are based on GE patents and have the potential to connect with Wink. The partnership has lead to a series of products that bring an inventive edge to GE’s traditional patented products, like Pivot Power — a flexible power strip.
This upstart startup just might be surpassing Google, which bought up Nest, and Apple, which just announced its HomeKit, in the smart home market.
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For centuries, becoming an “inventor” has been a hard gig to crack. Complexities relating to engineering, financing, manufacturing, distribution, and legal have stood in the way of brilliant people executing on their great ideas.
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