Quirky, the New York City-based start-up that stakes its claim on propelling everyday ideas into products, has set its sights on leveling the playing field within the burgeoning smart home industry.
According to a report in The New York Times, Quirky is launching a separate company, called Wink, in July, which will provide an integrated software solution to connect dozens of automated home products. Those products, in turn, will hit Home Depot shelves.
There will be one app to rule them all, so to speak -- which is not dissimilar to Apple's recent bid to introduce the "remote control" of smart home apps.
Companies on board with Wink include General Electric, Honeywell and Philips, as well as lesser-known start-ups in the field, according to the Times. The initial product assortment will total 60 Wink-enabled products, which will be displayed in nearly all Home Depot stores nationwide as of July 7.
Some of those products will be "Wink app ready," meaning they can be linked to an existing Internet router; some will be "Wink app compatible," which will require the purchase of a Wink hardware hub, to be sold in Home Depot stores and Amazon.com.
Quirky fields thousands of product submissions every week, which it whittles down to three using a participatory voting process. It then takes those products and brings them to fruition, ultimately marketing them through major retailers and putting profits in the hands of small-time inventors. When more and more ideas starting coming in for smart home products, the natural next step was to invest more resources in this market opportunity.