On a Wink and a prayer

About 18 months ago when making the jump to home automation, I picked a Wink 2 hub to be the brains of the operation. The reasons were simple:

  1. It supports Lutron’s proprietary Clear Connect protocol, used in their Caseta line.
  2. It supports Z-Wave, which I intended to start using for lamp modules.

While my experience with the Wink 2 has been positive overall, they’ve experienced three very lengthy outages in the past 60 days or so, one of which was quite serious in my view, and to be quite honest, I’m starting to worry about their business model.

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Wink Hub 2: Central Station for lighting control

The slippery slope of home automation didn’t really start with an Amazon Echo as I suggested in the title of my previous post. No, the problem began much earlier with a very (I thought) simple need: to dim and time lights at the same time. It’s easy to get a timer — whether plugin, or hard wired, to control lights. It’s easy to get a dimmer — they come in myriad styles. But if you want to put a lighting circuit on a timer, with the ability to dim, you’re going to find yourself moving to home automation pretty quickly. Which is how I came to buy into Lutron’s Caseta system. It quickly got more complicated from there.

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The slippery slope of home automation: Echo, Spotify and more

This past holiday season (2017), Amazon lowered the prices on its various Echo devices, in some cases pretty considerably. At the same time, they opened kiosks in malls and other locations to sell them, along with other select Amazon-branded merchandise (as well as a small selection of goodies from other companies). If you’d have asked me on December 1, 2017, whether I’d entertain the idea of having an Echo, Google Home, or similar such things in my house, I’d have said, “Never. Not ever.” I guess price is king, and I’ve had to eat my words.

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WyzeCam: Let’s disrupt a product segment and see what happens

So four ex-Amazon employees get together and decide to pair shamelessly inexpensive, off-the-shelf* tech with some decent software and services, sell it for a jaw-droppingly low retail price. Then, in the course of just a few months, they manage to both get a whole lot of attention — and launch a live experiment into how disruption of a product segment works in the wild. So how’s that experiment going so far?

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