A cautionary tale for any IoT ecosystem (Wink subscription)

Wink users have to either agree to pay a subscription fee or loose access to their devices. This is not the first time or company.

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Luckily I never used them, now I definitely wont. Just further proof that contrary to what many think, when you buy a device you do not own the software that runs it.

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There’s another topic on this, as well.

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Exactly. It’s why I am rethinking my purchases to always favor or look for devices that have significant ability without an internet connection. For instance my HomeKit devices all continue to function without a network connection. They don’t have ALL their functionality but the basics are there.

Also Sonos and others have recently aged devices off and rendered them non functional on customers forcing them to upgrade. It’s a built in obsolescence dream. The Titanium cone speakers I bought in the 70’s still function beautifully. But if I had bought speakers from Sonos I would be looking at a shelf full of junk. (Sonos backed away from outright disabling the devices following an outcry from users.)

Truthfully I am not buying anymore IoT devices unless I have a true need for that functionality. I have always been Leary of the class but now I am less worried about privacy and more worried about the lifespan of the device.

I’m a long time Wink user from back when they were part of Quirky. Interestingly, I haven’t received any official notification about this from Wink.

This is really not surprising. When you build great hardware and sell it for a fixed price, there are limited returns on that. EcoBee is perhaps in a similar situation, but has started to expand their product line. Regardless, I’m not sure I’ll be sticking with Wink. I have Smartthings Hub that I was playing with and I guess this will force me to make the final switch. Luckily, I don’t really have an extensive home automation set-up.

I’d previously suggested that Wyze acquire Wink to expand their overall smart home portfolio. I still stand by that and now might be a great time for that. The overall sense from the Wink community is that most users are not going to pay Wink in their current form.

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I am not a Wink user so I may be mistaken but my understanding is they sell primarily a hub and the services necessary to control a wide array of devices. In other words they consolidate disparate product lines into one command and control environment.

But based solely on the one Wink user I know who is already moving what he can to Alexa and Smartthings I would guess you represent the prevailing feeling. His take was their short notice and all or nothing approach was insulting and demeaning.

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I started my smart home with Wink products and I was happy with them and still am but now they announced they will start charging $4.99 a month to use their devices and automation rules, etc!
I am very troubled by this and I do not plan on getting a subscription.
I have a go control garage door opener, three plugs, two bulbs and three swithces.
I hate to lose all of that but I am not going to pay a subscription.
So my question to the community is what z-wave hubs does everyone use?
I’d like to find a replacement.
To Wyze, I wouldn’t mind converting to a Wyze only house but the garage door and switches aren’t available yet. I also have the problem of only having one PanCam and one bridge that doesn’t cover all of my house. Is the stand alone bridge moving up the wish list?
Also I really enjoy the ability in Wink to use sunset and sunrise, timers (like motion turns on a light for 15 minutes between 11:00 PM and 6:00AM), there might be more but those are the ones I use the most.

Any way thanks for letting me vent and I look forward to other opinions.

Brad

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I can only imagine this is going to backfire on Wink I also started my smart home with Wink and 5 GE bulbs. I now have the wink 2 and I refuse to pay a subscription making my GE bulbs useless now shopping for Alexa comparable bulbs as we speak bye bye Wink

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Talk about a way to Piss off your customers! Unbelievable move by WINK. They did a similar thing a few years ago when they discontinued support of their first “small-Light’s only” hub (only worked with the older GE QUIRKY LED bulbs). That wasn’t that bad as most probably already had a regular Wink HUB.
Ironically - my Wink HUB2 went offline last night and I haven’t been able to get it going.
My guess is that most will move over to the SmartThings Hub (Similar features to Wink - but SmartThings is now owned by Samsung so a more financially stable company).
The main thing I’ll loss going to SmartThings only is no more support for those older GE Quirky light bulbs I have (I’ll just change to another type at this point since there are a “plethora” of choices now).
As other’s said - NO WAY am I paying a subscription fee.

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Smart device maker Wink demands customers pay up or lose features

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That’s a possibility for any IoT company. As is things like Sonos arbitrarily making some of their devices obsolete and not usable. As is the very real danger of Wyze or others being acquired or failing rendering all their devices bricks. It’s why you should never put all your eggs in one basket I guess.

I started a similar thread a day or so ago here:

I swapped from Wink2 to Smartthings about a year ago and moved all of my smart devices with it.
If Smartthings does the same thing, there’s several other hubs I can move to, including several that don’t require any internet access at all to function.

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I have a Smartthings hub that I’ve been intending to migrate my stuff to from Wink. I started doing this about a year ago, but never really completed it. I guess I’ll complete it now.

For ease of use, I think Smartthings would be your choice. It’s also rather economical compared to some of the other options. One of the alternatives-Habitat I think–evidently canceled a sale and jacked up their price upon the Wink furor.

Smartthings can basically do all the same stuff as Wink. The interface is a little not as “simple” as Wink. It’s compatible with pretty much everything. If you have Lutron stuff, you’ll need a bridge for Smartthings.

Frankly, now would be a great time for Wyze to acquire Wink. :wink:

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Consider it good riddance. Those “bulbs” had horrible color and sucked.

As the saying goes, the Cloud is just somebody else’s computer. As I’ve been building up my home automation equipment I’ve tried to make careful choices so that I can completely disconnect those devices from the cloud, and run everything from my local network. One of the reasons I like the Wyze cameras so much is the ability to load open source firmware on them. I was pretty excited about the Wyze lock, and hopeful that they would have added a protocol like MQTT so that we could drive them without having to have them cloud connected. I was very excited to see that folks have figured out how to drive them with a USB-Zigbee radio and looking forward to having that setup when the adapter arrives. Given the number of companies that have shut down leaving their devices non-functioning, or companies shutting down their API (thanks Google Nest…), or like we’re seeing with Wink starting to charge for their services. If you can’t modify the software do you really own the device? I do like that while Wyze is still trying to use the cloud model, many of their devices there is a workaround if you want to keep it local.

Take a look at hubitat. If they go belly up tomorrow, all my local zigbee and Z-Wave devices and integrations still run. The hub lives on, despite what the company does. I’m in over 18 months now and loving it

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One thing that really stuck out for me was the fact they would start charging you in 5 days. Any company that wants to keep their customers would have offered extended time for their users. I’ve had a few of these things happen from different industries and the ones I still use usually offered several months or “till end of year” free service for their existing customers. Very poor customer relations.

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It may come down to “We do this or the company ceases to exist” If it’s 4.99 no matter the amount of devices you have, that doesn’t seem all that bad, as an outside perspective. I’ve never used the company or have a full understanding of what they offer.

I didn’t get the official email notification until 5/10…so they technically only gave me 3 days.

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I’ve had the Wink Hub 2 for a few years, and I’ve been a passionate advocate for it. I love it…

HOWEVER, they’ve given me just three days to decide whether to pony up the subscription fee. Three days! Had they given me 30 days advance notice of this change, I’m fairly sure I would’ve respected that and signed up (at least on a monthly basis). But three days?? NFW. That’s borderline-extortion: “Sign up, or you lose TOTAL access to your device. We’ll brick it in 3 days if you don’t pay up.” That’s what they said, not in so many words.

Well, I also have Alexa. So I’m going to let the Wink Hub 2 go dark, and I’ll test for a few days or weeks whether the rest of my smarthome can get along just fine with Alexa and without Wink.

Anyway, yeah, what Wink just did to me (and to the two other people - family members - to whom I’d given Hub 2s as gifts) is NOT the way you treat your customers. A cautionary tale, indeed - to us, but also to the Wyzes of the world.

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