Possible Wink Mascot
If you blink your eyes nowadays (or go camping for the weekend), there’s a good chance you’ll miss a new smart home initiative.
This weekend was particularly busy, as I wrote for Forbes, with Friday’s news of Google’s acquisition of DropCam and today’s announcement by Quirky that they are spinning out a new smart home company called Wink.
Since I’ve written quite a bit about smart home security, Google and Dropcam and believe my analysis of Google/Dropcam holds up, I want to quickly touch on what I think will be the long term impact of Quirky/Wink.
Here are some early thoughts on the implications of Quirky’s smart home spinout:
- I don’t know if Quirky has a big technology advantage relative to other smart home management and hub platforms, but the company’s business model around crowdsourced product innovation is truly differentiated and puts it in on the ground floor on some really innovative new products. If Wink is, by both proximity and ‘ink on paper’, the de facto smart home hub platform for any product coming off of the Quirky innovation factory conveyor belt, this instantly puts Wink in a good place to fast-build an ecosystem of compatible products.
- Without a doubt, the biggest challenge for smart home startups is distribution of their product. You can have the best idea in the world, but unless your product is seen and exposed to millions of consumers in a retail or online environment, chances are it won’t succeed. That is why a partnership like Home Depot’s is so absolutely crucial. By becoming the preferred platform for Home Depot, Wink is assured continued exposure through the biggest home improvement storefront for years in the future. It also gives Wink instant credibility for its platform, which will mean that smart home point products will almost assuredly will want to make their product part of the Wink ecosystem.
- I imagine at some point we’ll see more details on Wink’s technology, but what we do know is that Quirky’s smart home efforts thus far have been built around Electric Imp’s platform. Electric Imp provides an open API, cloud and system software to built smart home hardware, so if, as I imagine, Wink continues to push those building smart home devices to Electric Imp’s platform, I think this is a big win as well for Electric Imp.
- As for the impact on other smart home hub and platform products, I think the biggest disappointment may be not winning preferred status at Home Depot, which may have been the belle of the home retail ball. That said, I don’t think that the competition to be the center of the smart home is at all over, but with Wink (as well as HomeKit), things are certainly getting a lot more competitive.
I’ll have more thoughts in coming weeks, so be sure to follow me on Twitter, sign up for my newsletter or listen to the Smart Home Show.