In early 2013, we began to see a trend within the Quirky community— most of our top-selling products had been inventive, stand-alone devices — like a power strip that pivots so a plug never blocks an adjacent socket, and a plastic stem that inserts into a lemon or lime and becomes a push-button citrus spritzer. Yet increasingly, the ideas coming into Quirky — about one in four — were for home products that can communicate with a smart phone or a household Wi-Fi network. These ideas were pursuing the much-promoted vision of the smart home, or the consumer Internet of Things. We needed to create and brand from scratch a separate company to take on this challenge.
With GE's help we created a separate company called Wink. It's main technology is software intended to be the equivalent of an open operating system, helping to seamlessly connect all kinds of smart products from all types of brands. Wink’s smart phone and tablet App offered consumers a single digital dashboard to link and control a user’s smart-home devices. With a few finger swipes you can instruct the lights in the kitchen and dining room to turn on when the automated door unlocks. Wink creates a user experience that is truly seamless between the physical and digital.
A SOHO GARAGE
Wink was now the control hub for over 100+ products from 15 consumer brands. To make this App integrate with so many brands (many that are direct competitors to Quirky), we decided to move Wink into a separate physical space on Crosby Street in SoHo and make it a wholly owned subsidiary of Quirky. Most of the top Internet companies in the world started in garages, we found the last garage in SoHo for the Wink office.
HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE INTEGRATION
At Quirky our community of inventors were very excited about us creating Wink, their Smart Product ideas started flooding in. Relay was one we acted upon immediately. Designed to replace a light switch on the wall and keep your phone in your pocket, it's a device that bridges the comforts of old familiarity with the promises of connected technology. The touchscreen controller runs the Wink App, so you can manage all your favorite smart products from one central location. It’s a great fit for households with multiple people or for those who want a command center that’s as easy to operate as the light switch it replaces.
THE LAUNCH EVENT
The Wink App launched in July 2014 with a grand press event showcasing the largest collection of connected home products on a single, integrated platform. We took over an apartment in Soho and filled it with all our partners products and some of our own too. A working garage was built inside to help demo some of the products.
Our go-to-market strategy was very simple we wanted to lead the market in connected home distribution and storytelling, humanizing and demystifying a complex new category. We had three distinct channels. Wink.com was our own e-commerce platform and the one we had total control over.
We had Wink endcaps at Home Depot, Best Buy and Target (over 3,600 locations) explaining how all the varied partner products worked together on the Wink platform. Together with our partners, we give away Wink hubs with the purchase of connected products, making the smart home experience seamless and affordable for all.
We also partnered with RG/A and Partners & Spade to help us with our launch, advertising campaign and e-commerce platform. Wink.com combines an online shop—stocked with products from all Wink's partner brands (including Quirky+GE)—and an educational guide that highlights stories about how real people are using Wink to improve their everyday lives.
For our first national ad campaign, we poked fun at the robot-filled future we’ve all been promised. In reality, robots are invasive, incompatible, and just plain awkward; a fully automated house should be anything but that. With Wink, the smart home of the future is a phenomenon of the present. Partners & Spade worked closely with our inhouse video and marketing team at Quirky to conceive and bring this campaign to life.
A mysterious new company emerged on the tech scene: Robot Butler Inc. They announced their arrival with an enticing teaser clip and the promise of a fully autonomous robot that’ll cater to your every whim: The next day, empty Robot Butler boxes appeared on street corners in major cities around the country, further stoking speculation. But the buzz really reached a fever pitch when Snoop Dogg and Martha Stewart posted photos of their own Robot Butlers.
Quirky & Wink
Quirky inhouse team
& Marshall Troy
Wink.com designed at
Wink & Robot Butler Videos by
Partners and Spade
& Quirky inhouse team
Press and Awards
Quirky creates a Smart Home company
Wink squares off against Nest in the battle for "home field" advantage
Wink could be the next big platform for the smart home