I have been waiting for several months now to jump into the smart home arena. But I had been waiting for a clear winner to emerge. Apple home, smartthings, Nest – a bunch of big players involved, but all seemed to have their drawbacks.
Finally, I started seeing good reviews for the new Wink 2 hub, so I went ahead and took the plunge and bought one. The Wink Hub is a central unit that controls all sorts of smart switches, outlets, and other things. I wanted something compatible with ZWave devices, which is an emerging open standard that the Wink Hub supports.
For my initial setup, I also ordered a GE smartswitch which allows control via any ZWave hub like Wink2. My first simple smarthome test for this was to use this switch on my porchlight and have it go on and off on schedule. I was surprised at how easy it was to set everything up. Plug in the Wink2 Hub, and hook it to your router. Then I downloaded the phone app, created an account, and easily got the hub attached to my home network via the phone app.
Once that was completed, On the phone app I clicked add a product, and it was super easy to add my GE light switch and set a schedule for on/off.
There are a ton of products you can get that hook into the hub. You can also set up ‘robots’ that you can script actions for. For example, if you hook up a motion detector, you could do something like ‘if motion is detected by the detector, and its after sunset’, turn on all the lights and turn on a radio. You can also do things based on whether or not you are home, if you enable the app to sense where your phone is.
They also have an API, so because I am a geek I will be writing my own programs to potentially integrate into external things – such as temperature (obtained from weather underground via their API), or link to my solar panels to determine if the sun is out. They have shades I can hook into your hub, so I can ping my solar panels every afternoon, and if the sun is out, close the shades in our living room.
Interesting stuff. I do think this Wink 2 hub is a breakthrough product for bringing the smart home to the masses. I am excited for all the new geeky things I do with it.