The smart home of the future really isn’t that smart, but in fact its a home that all connected to your phone. The idea of being to turn off lights, control the homes A/C, and even see how many eggs you have left are all novel ideas that don’t make your home smart just connected. I already carry my phone around with me at all times, and more things need me to use my phone these days. I now use my phone to control whats playing on my TV, and if you have a Chromecast you’ll need to make sure that’s close to you to pause or change the show. Having to keep my phone close to me to turn on and off lights isn’t that big of a deal mainly because I always have my phone on me. Having to pull it out, fumble around with it, and then navigate to an app is a little awkward. However I think of it as always carrying around the light switch with me.
I bought the GE Link Starter kit, which came with two GE Link light bulbs and a link hub to connect your bulbs to the network. This is the best value and option to start building your connected home. The bulbs work with the Wink app, and are super easy to set up. All in all it took me less than 5 minutes to set up, and I added other users so they could control the lights. The light from the GE Link bulbs are natural looking and surprising bright, and for only $15 it’s a solid value for smart bulbs.
The Wink app is well design and is pack full of useful features. The main feature that I love is being able to automate the lights based on location, Wink Trippers, sunset, sunrise, or other preset times. I plan on investing in a set of Wink trippers so I can open the front door and have the lights come on. For now I have the app turn the lights on when my phone arrives at home. It’s fairly accurate and I have the time ranges set to only work if I come home after the sun sets.
There are some downsides to these smart light bulbs. They always have to have the light switch to on, and if you flip the switch to off the light bulb won’t be able to turn on with your app. When you do press the on button through your phone there is a 2 or 3 second delay before the lights do come on, but after a while it becomes apart of the experience. If you don’t like the idea of the smart bulbs being made dumb by flicking a switch the Tapt light switch can help you out. The light switch replaces your old dumb switch and ensures your smart bulbs can always turn on and you still have the familiarity of the age-old light switch.
These light bulbs are only the start of my smart home, with the Nest thermostat, Nest fire alarms, Dropcam, and a few other wink products. For now I’ll stick with the light bulbs that are always connected and can be turned off or on from anywhere in the world. That’s great for the time when you’re rushing out of the house and forget to turn the lights off. It is also handy if your away on a trip and want to automate the lights in your house to make it look like someone is there. It’s also great for my girlfriend to troll me whiles she’s away when she turns the lights off or on at random times of the day.
Overall I’ve yet to find any issues with the bulbs not working or responding to the wink app like others have had. This could be in part to a recent update Wink pushed out. The only scary part of having a smart home is the homes open to hackers who could reek havoc on your home. On top of that if you invest in smart locks your home could be more at risk to intrusion from a hacker. While these are unlikely they could happen, and will happen as more people want to be able to connect their homes to their phones.
Tell us your experiences with Wink products or other smart home products in the comments below!