First Look: The Wink Relay

First Look: The Wink Relay

Mission control for your smart home.

Once you have your whole home working together (perhaps through the Wink Hub we looked at yesterday), you’re going to want an easy way to control it. Smart phones are the default interface, but probably aren’t the perfect fit for everyday use. You need something that will always be where it’s needed, never run out of battery, and be easily accessible for children and guests.

For months, Lauren and I considered investing in some gently used iPads to place around the house in strategic locations. The idea was to have a few screens with all of our devices’ apps in one place. We were looking for something that would allow us to lock doors, change the temperature, and accomplish other typical smart home tasks. It wasn’t the ideal solution, but it was the best thing we could come up with.

Thankfully, it looks like the folks at Wink seem to have a much better solution in their Relay wall panel. The Relay offers a wall mounted 4.3″ screen and two programmable switches that can replace any panel around your house. It appears to run a gently modified version of the same interface you’d find on your smart phone, but conveniently mounted to the wall for all to use. All it takes is a few taps to change settings on any Wink-connected smart device in the house.

Better still, the Relay includes motion, temperature, and humidity sensors to keep tabs on your home, and even includes a mic/speaker combo for future intercom functionality between Relay units. Like the Wink app, the Relay allows you to create “robots” for common home automation tasks, which makes it insanely useful (in my mind at least).

Imagine tapping the Relay panel just once in your bedroom at night to close garage doors, lock exterior doors, turn off lights throughout the house, and set the appropriate temperature for sleeping. Pretty awesome, right?

The Wink Relay will be available this holiday season for $300, and is available for preorder now.


Eric is the creator of At Home in the Future and has been a passionate fan of the future since he was seven. He's a web developer by trade, and serves as the Director of Communication and Technology for a large church in Nashville, TN (where he and his family are building a high tech home in the woods).

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