Tech startup Quirky and GE, who officially announced their partnership in April of 2013, launched seven new products that seek to reinvent home security, outlets, switches, and sensors. With the fleet, the companies believe they have the potential to make smart home technology accessible. "Through partnerships, products, and our platform, we believe we'll finally connect the home," Ben Kaufman, Quirky's founder and CEO, stated at a press briefing.
The new devices are geared toward lighting, energy consumption, and security—the top three areas where smart technology has the most potential to make an impact according to research by Quirky and GE. Kaufman called the products "the seven building blocks for an affordable and accessible home." They give users the ability to see real-time information about their home—data on how much energy a particular appliance consumes (and hence, its operating costs) or its temperature and if a door or window is open, for example. The new items, which begin shipping in December 2014, are the Tripper window and door sensor ($35 per pair); the Overflow moisture detector ($35); Outlink wall outlet with integrated energy monitor ($50); Tapt programmable light switch ($60); Ascend garage door opener ($90); Norm HVAC controller ($80); and Spotter Uniq customizable sensor ($30–$120).
Through today's announcements, Quirky and GE have addressed two barriers relating to the adoption of smart home technology: ease of use and affordability. With the exception of the Uniq sensor, none of the products retails for over $90. Each of the new Quirky and GE devices can be controlled through the Wink app, a connected home platform that allows users to operate multiple smart home products—manufactured by Quirky and dozens of partner brands—through a single interface. This means no toggling back and forth between multiple apps and program settings to accomplish a desired action.
"We wanted to make things easy for the average user, not just the tech enthusiasts," Kaufman says. "Invention without adoption isn't invention."
Home Depot is a current retail partner for Quirky's connected-home products and Wink-controlled devices; they're also available to order on wink.com.