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Wink Links To In-Wall Home-Automation Controller

New York – Home automation startup Wink will add a Wi-Fi-connected in-wall control center to supplement app control of wireless home-automation products.

Wink, which launched a wireless control hub in July through Home Depot and Amazon, plans retail availability around Thanksgiving of its $300 in-wall Relay control center, which features a touchscreen and two mechanical switches. It lets people control and monitor connected home systems if they don’t have Wink’s Android or iOS apps, if their mobile device isn’t handy, if they’re using other apps on their mobile device, or simply don’t want to see e-mail notifications from work when they pull out their mobile device.

Wink Relay and the company’s iOS and Android apps control any Wink App Ready product such as Dropcam Pro and the Honeywell Smart Thermostat. Other products, such as GE Link Bulbs and Schlage door locks, require the Wink HUB to enable control from the Relay and apps. Wink’s hub incorporates multiple wireless technologies, including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth LE, ZWave Plus, ZigBee, Lutron’s Clear Connect, and 433MHz RF.

Wink’s Relay and apps control 100 devices from more than 15 brands, up from about 60 products from 15 companies at launch. The number of controllable devices will grow because Wink plans to integrate with products from Gilmour, Nortek division Linear, and Nest Labs at an undisclosed time in the future.

Separately, the wholly-owned subsidiary of GE-backed Quirky is rolling out updates to its Wink app. Updates include a new home screen, new lighting controls that make it easier to control groups of lights, and a new dashboard.

Wink’s new Relay, once installed in an existing single-gang light-switch box, automatically connects with all Wink-compatible products, from light bulbs to garage door openers, and to the Wink Hub.

The Relay features a 4.3-inch multitouch LCD display and two mechanical switches, which can be used to control smart light bulbs or turn other smart home products on or off.

Relay also features built-in infrared proximity sensors that light up the display and provide current temperature and humidity readings when a user approaches. It also lets users leave voice messages through a built-in mic and speaker.

Relay’s software can be updated remotely. Relay’s sensors, for example, will be updated to recognize individual users and automatically switch to their personal settings.

Wink parent Quirky brings to market product ideas proposed by inventors.