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Let’s face it, the first generations of smart home products really haven’t been that smart. Most have required a degree of technical knowledge or understanding to get things working, and a degree in patience when they don’t.
As smart home technology matures, it is now at the level where those tricky tasks, like pairing devices and troubleshooting, should be getting easier. Taking a big step forward is the new Wink Hub 2, arriving this October, almost three years after the original.
Not only is it smaller than the original and aesthetically pleasing, looking rather like a slim, white PlayStation 3, it is designed for the typical consumer and not the geek or early adopter. But while the hardware has been beefed up, its the new controlling app that makes things easier.
Love Your Hub 2
Inside the box with its neon-blue activity strip, is WiFi supporting both 2.4 and 5.0 Ghz routers, plus Ethernet. Smart home support is across the board with Bluetooth LE, Z-Wave and ZigBee allowing any device to work, with Amazon Alexa, IFTTT and most other protocols also on board.
Additional features include improved security systems and local scheduling. The Hub 2 also has a faster processor and 512MB of RAM compared to the original’s, 64MB so should be faster in operation. But it is the app that does most of
Apps are the Kings of the Smart Home
The Wink Mobile app, available for iOS and Android, provides a simplified initial setup process to reduce issues and user techno-fear. It also helps make pairing devices to the hub easier and faster.
Not only can existing Hub owners transfer their settings over automatically, but any new devices will work with other smart home products in a useful manner.
Moving away from hardware setup to app-based setup is key to making smart homes simpler, and while there will still be the odd glitch, hubs should soon all be easier to use.
Hub 2 allows owners to create smart schedules for any products or devices, and Robots allowing devices to work in concert like alarms and lights or locks and cameras.
The new Wink Hub 2 hits the stores in October for $99 (For the latest prices and discounts, check here) while the original Wink Hub will still be available for $69 until stocks are cleared.
With Apple, Google and Amazon all trying hard to smarten up smart homes, Wink’s latest upgrade could outsmart them all by simplifying the technology and making it invisible to the user.
We’ll have to wait until October for a full review, but until then, you may want to pause any smart home hub purchases and wait to see what the new Wink Hub 2 has to offer.
The company will be announcing more product compatibility soon, so if you’ve struggled with Wink and some products like LiFX in the past, you may be in for a smarter, better connected future.
Patrick Sinclair is a geek; make no mistake about that. He runs All Home Robotics in his spare time so he doesn’t have to think about his depressing cubicle and it gives him an excuse to buy expensive gadgets to review!