ReadWriteHome is an ongoing series exploring the implications of living in connected homes.
Wink has been busy. After having introduced its wallet-friendly Hub a few months ago, the smart-home upstart backed by Quirky and GE already has another new offering: a touchscreen wall console called Wink Relay.
This futuristic beauty looks way better than the dingy wall-mounted panel Bruce Willis had to contend with in The Fifth Element, and it’s smarter too. Relay acts like mission control for your Wink-powered smart home. It’s sort of like having another smartphone clinging to your plaster, one that just runs the Wink mobile app. That’s all it needs.
The wall panel’s 4.3-inch multi-touch display features big finger-friendly icons that let users trigger tasks or switch modes. From here, you can activate lights and kick on the heater at night or open blinds and turn on the AC during the day.
Why not just use the Wink app on your smartphone? Relay offers one more point of access to Wink’s bevy of smart-home products—one you don’t have to track down or keep charged. Plus, it offers nifty extras like programmable hardware buttons and sensors that can detect your proximity, ambient temperature and humidity. Plans are in the works to integrate a speaker and microphone, to turn the wall panel into a full-blown intercom too.
Best part: You can set it up yourself, no technician needed (though Wink recommends professional installation, which makes sense if you’re afraid to touch your home’s wiring). The included adaptor locks onto standard light switch panels, making installation a breeze. Preorders open today for $300, available on Amazon, and will be offered from The Home Depot’s website as well. Wink plans to ship the Relay by Thanksgiving.
In related news, Wink also issued an update for its mobile app and announced it will work with products from Google’s Nest Labs, as well as devices from other smart home device makers Gilmour and Linear. In total, Team Wink encompasses nearly 20 companies, covering about 100 devices.
The Fifth Element screenshot from YouTube video by MovieClips