UPDATE: Wink Hub 2 upgrades my Smart Home, works with HomeKit (sort of!)

Wink, purveyor of smart home hardware, recently debuted their Wink Hub 2 device.  This blog entry digs deeper into the features and benefits of this new system.  I’ll also talk about how having a splintered system (in this case HomeKit, and Wink) can actually work just great, even with your Amazon Alexa voice assistant.  Let’s see how it all comes together!

First, a little background…

For the past few years I’ve been piecing together a smart home, just like the rest of you.  The only difference is that as I’ve learned things along the way, I’ve shared those results here in various blog posts.  Check out my prior entries, like THIS POST, or even THIS ONE a little further back.  Whether you’re looking for the best smart doorbell, smart locks, or security cameras, I’ve played around with many of them and formed my conclusions.

One thing I’ve learned along the way, thanks to the comments section on this blog, is that everyone has a very unique set of needs & desires.  What works for me might not work for you.  Differences like your smart phone platform (Android vs Apple), your desire for home security versus automation/media needs, and other factors, make some items work for me, but not for you.  So please, regardless of who you are, be sure to read as much as you can (here and elsewhere) and make the most educated decision you can.  And as always, sound off at the end in the comments section; I always love to hear feedback!

With all of this said, I’m an Apple fan boy, thus HomeKit (HK) is my platform of choice.  In this post I’ll talk about the system I’ve pieced together primarily using HK.  It is worth pausing to mention that at this moment (Nov-2016) there remains no HK compatible sensors for water/leak, nor garage door openers.  Though there are WiFi options for both, neither would actually integrate into my current array of devices, but would work simply stand-alone.  HK supports these features, but nobody has brought such a device to market (yet).

Up until just recently I was using the Staples Connect hub from D-Link, but with the Wink Hub 2, it gave me reason to finally swap back to their system.  Here is how setting up the new system went, and how it works with my otherwise HomeKit-biased household.

Click thumbnails below for FULL size media gallery:

Unboxing & Setup

Inside the Wink Hub 2 box is a rather simple array of hardware.  Beyond the main hub tower itself you get a power cable, an ethernet cable, and a quick start guide.  Unlike the prior device which relied solely on WiFi to connect to your home, the new Wink Hub 2 adds the option to be connected to your router directly via Ethernet, which is a very useful alternative for many users.

Furthermore, the Wink Hub 2 has a few other new tricks up its sleeve.  Those include: Bluetooth LE connectivity for future device compatibility, 512 MB of memory (up from 64 MB), and 5GHz Wifi support on top of the 2.4 GHz standard.  There is also a more streamlined auto-discovery & setup guide, which I tried showcase in the photo gallery above.

Getting started is simple, and takes less than 5 minutes from start to finish to get your hub operational.  At that point you are presented with your home screen, showing the Hub as your only connected device, and you’re ready to start adding more devices.  And so it begins…

Adding DIRECT Devices (Z-Wave, Zigbee, etc)

There are two primary reasons to purchase a device like the Wink Hub 2 for your smart home.  First is to help aggregate the devices so they can “work together” (which we’ll talk about in a bit).  Secondly, it adds a way to connect to devices beyond your home WiFi.  For the latter purpose you’ll be utilizing the various radios inside the box, such as Bluetooth LE, Z-Wave, ZigBee, and Lutron Clear Connect, just to name a few.  In the future, Thread and other protocols will also be available (via firmware updates).

In my home I’ve been using various Z-Wave devices including my water leak sensors, and my garage door opener (which I reviewed HERE).  During my setup and testing I came to find out that my Fibaro Flood Sensor was not compatible with the Wink Hub 2 even though it works on Z-Wave.  As such, it got swapped out for the LeakSmart sensor, which is ZigBee instead of Z-wave, but otherwise is a very similar device to the Fibaro.  Between my old Fibaro and the new LeakSmart, the only real notable difference between these two leak sensors is that the LeakSmart unit lacks tamper alerts, so if someone moves the device it won’t let you know.  However, for my basement installation, this was not an issue or feature I needed, anyhow.

As shown in my photo gallery, I’m using an Aeotec by Aeon Labs leak sensor at my hot water tank, and then utilizing the new LeakSmart sensor is for my drain.  Some time ago we had a sewage backup, and subsequently installed a back-flow valve to mitigated that issue.  Still, the sensor is there as a bit of a security blanket for us.   Lastly, in my garage remains my GoControl/Linear Garage Door opener system.  Like the old Staples Connect system, you’re able to set alerts for things like leaks, temperatures (too high/low), or when the garage door opens during “restricted” hours, such as when you’re at work.  Overall the Wink Hub 2 starts off performing like any other smart hub here.

But as you dig deeper the Wink system starts to show some superiority.  Perhaps the best feature that the Wink Hub 2 adds for these devices over the old Staples setup is the garage door alerts for when the door has remained open for more than a specified number of minutes.  This feature is identical to what the Chamberlain MyQ offers, and is a feature I had missed ever since I bought my Linear unit. Kudos, Wink!

Adding (or removing) Z-wave or ZigBee devices is a very simple and straight forward process, simply by following the on-screen prompts inside the Wink app. And creating alerts was equally as easy, with some boiler-plate ones introduced by the app for you, to get you started!  There are tons of other Z-Wave and ZigBee devices out there, from door locks, to light switches, and much more.  Again this is where my application may differ from yours– for many people they’ll go a lot further into the Wink infrastructure, and if you do, I can assure you that it is worth the venture!

Adding OTHER Devices (WiFi, etc)

Once I got past the leak sensor(s) and the garage door opener, the remainder of my smart home devices are either Bluetooth only (via Apple HomeKit), or use WiFi to connect.  Interesting enough, some of the WiFi devices are HomeKit compatible, while others are not.  And only some of them will play nice with Wink and HomeKit at the same time.

Our home is full of a myriad of devices.  In my testing I found that my Ring Video Doorbell Pro, Rachio irrigation system, and Nest Protect smoke/CO detectors are examples of devices that don’t yet have any HomeKit compatibility, and work on WiFi.  On the flip side, devices such as my Ecobee3 thermostat, Lutron Caseta wall switches, Philips Hue bulbs, and Schlage Sense Door locks, all work nicely with Apple’s HomeKit platform, with the Schlage using Bluetooth and the others utilizing WiFi.

What is most interesting to note here is that MANY of these devices can sync to the Wink Hub 2 while at the same time retaining their Apple HomeKit compatibility.  We’ll expand on that in a moment.

As you review the photo gallery above, you’ll see images that display how my thermostat, sprinkler system, smoke alarms, door bell, and home security cameras, ALL work with the Wink Hub 2 system.  This means that motion sensors in the door bell or cameras, or similar sensors like the thermostat’s remote temperature sensors, can work as triggers in my smart home.  Again, this aggregate of these devices is only possible because of the Wink Hub 2 and how it brings all of these devices under one roof!  One of the huge reasons to consider a hub like this becomes the combined features you gain by allowing one device’s sensors to trigger another device’s actions.

Two of my HomeKit devices, namely the Philips Hue lighting, and the Ecobee3 thermostat, link up to the Wink Hub 2 while still preserving their HomeKit functionality.  For example, I can still use Siri to control the temperature of my home, yet I can also control it via the Wink app on my phone, or via the Wink Relay device device.  In those instances, all is right in the world; it tended to be the devices that weren’t solely on WiFi where the splintering began.

Best example of this comes by looking more closely at the Lutron Caseta hub, which connects to your home network via Ethernet.  There is no way to connect the Wink hub to the Lutron hub (they call their hub a “bridge”).  However, you can ditch the Lutron bridge, in lieu of the Wink Hub 2.  At this cross-road you have to make a choice: your smart switches can either work with Wink, or with HomeKit, but not both.  That is because the indivual light switch or smart outlet connects via a proprietary RF signal called Lutron Clear Connect.  Because of how the devices have been designed, they can only answer to one “bridge” (controller) at any given time.

Since my Lutron Caseta hardware is all linked to my HomeKit bridge, they cannot connect to my Wink Hub 2.  And since I wanted to maintain my HomeKit compatibility, this meant that while I can use the Lutron app, or Siri voice, or even the new iOS 8 Home app, it prevented me from using Wink to control my lights.  Luckily, there are some “direct” integrations, such as Lutron working directly with Nest, so that my lights can all turn on when my smoke alarm goes off.  Or such as how Lutron works with HomeKit, such that my thermostat using that platform to integrate with one another.  It works, but I’ll admit the flow is fragmented here because I’m essentially using two platforms.

Another lesser example of this would be the Schlage Sense Door locks, which are Bluetooth specifically for purposes of Apple HomeKit compatibility.  Hence they don’t contain any Z-Wave radios, and won’t connect to the Wink system.  If you want Schlage door locks that work with the Wink hub, you actually need different hardware.  Their Z-wave version is called the Schlage Connect, and works on Z-Wave instead of Bluetooth. Make sure you buy based on your preference or desires here, as you build your smart home system, to avoid splintering your integrations.

Alexa versus HomeKit

All in all, my system works for me because I prefer to use HomeKit and Siri.  However, one of the big selling points of the Wink Hub 2 is that it works with the Amazon Echo voice assistant.  In our home we have the smaller Echo Dot, which works great and my wife/daughter both love to utilize.  It is located in our kitchen which is a central hub to our daily lives.  Where I tend to use Siri, the girls prefer Alexa, so we get an interesting mix of functionality from this.

What became VERY interesting findings during my testing was this: Alexa works with my Philips Hue lighting, as well as my Lutron Caseta switches, but not because I had the Wink Hub 2, rather they directly work with Amazon’s hardware.  However, if you use the Wink hub to directly link your Hue bulbs or Lutron hardware, that works too!  In other words, you can have your cake & eat it too!  My setup thusly allows Siri because my Hue/Lutron hubs are HomeKit compatible, yet also work with the Amazon Echo, without even needing a Wink hub.  Even my thermostat works with the Echo!

 

At this time Alexa still lacks the ability to open/close my garage door (or even advise me if the door is open or closed).  Though in all fairness, while Apple’s HomeKit can do this, nobody offers a compatible device quite yet.  (Chamberlain claims one is coming, but has made such remarks for over a year now with no new hardware to market).  Generally speaking, the capabilities of controlling your smart home with Alexa vs Siri are virtually identical.

However, setting up voice control with Alexa takes a bit more leg work, first having to force her find the new hardware via a learning method.  Then requiring you to go into the Alexa app and configure “groups” (be it rooms or the likes).  This works, but there is no real hierarchy of your home, making the list of groups a bit of a mess.  Sure, you can just learn new devices and right away turn off one item at a time, but let’s face it, bundling is where the fun really happens (turning off lights by floor, etc).

Contrastingly, Apple’s HomeKit tends to prompt you during setup to assign devices to rooms, and then configure rooms into groups (such as floors of your home).  In my case, HomeKit’s design has made far more sense for the time I’ve been using it.  HK allows me to configure rooms and floors of my tri-level split-level home.  I can easily have Siri turn off the light upstairs, or set the lights in the living room to a specific color.

Overall I have tended to prefer the user interface of HomeKit, finding it works better for lighting than the way both the Wink Hub 2 and Amazon Echo handle this approach.  There is room for improvement here with Wink, and also with subsequently how the Wink & Echo choose to integrate.  There is just something a bit more polished with how Apple has approached your home, with rooms and such, than the other systems.

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, I really like what what I see with the Wink Hub 2.  And for most users, I think the feature set is actually in many ways more than adequate for most beginner or intermediate smart home users.  With as much hardware as I have, I consider myself a power user, where EVERY light switch in my 2,400 sq-ft home upgraded to smart (that is nearly 30 switches!), not to mention everything else!   My discussions with most people is that they aren’t ready to spend that much money (at $50+ per switch), dabbling instead with just a few switches, a few bulbs, a thermostat, and so forth.

In that light, the Wink Hub 2 reigns supreme, making it super easy to create “Robots” as they call it, to allow times of day, your location, or motion, to trigger activities.  Want the lights to come on, but only if the Ring doorbell sensors motion after sunset?  Easy.  Would you like the lights to shut off when you leave the house?  Done!  With a highly graphic interface, and a rather simplified experience, Wink does a great job taking a HUGE cross section of hardware, and making it easy for users to put them all into the same sand box, to play nicely together.

Much of what the Wink Hub 2 can do is able to be replicated with Apple’s HomeKit, but at the end of the day there are still more devices that work with Wink than Apple right now.  If you want the most powerful option on the market today, the Wink is where you should likely head.  It offers a huge spectrum of compatibility, gorgeous user interface, super-reliable software, and should remain fairly future proof with its broad hardware configuration.  Hence why I’ve supplemented my home with the Wink Hub 2; a great companion to my Apple HomeKit experience.

What do you want to automate?  Let us know your questions or experiences in the smart home arena by posting below.

Advertisements

Published by

Ari Jay Comet

Sharing my life experiences. Interacting with technology. Digital self-expression. Binary is black, white, and many shades of grey.

42 thoughts on “UPDATE: Wink Hub 2 upgrades my Smart Home, works with HomeKit (sort of!)”

  1. Hi Ari,

    Thanks for all the info. Its definitely very helpful. Quick question, if I get the Wink Hub 2 and Philips Hue light bulbs, do I still need the Philips Hub/Bridge? Also, do you know if I will be able to change the color of the bulb using a Wink routine/scene?

    Thanks!

    1. You need a Hue bridge to control Hue bulbs. You can control generic Zigbee bulbs with Wink, but Hue Bulbs require a Hue bridge. And yes you can change colors as part of a routine with Wink as I’m aware.

      1. Thank you Ari, I decided to go with SmartThings because:

        1. I don’t mind slightly advanced UI
        2. It is backed by Samsung
        3. It is on sale ($49) on the SmartThings website
        4. Looks like a lot bigger user base so more support from people

  2. Great post, nice to hear about the upgrades with Wink 2. I’m also a power user with a mixed environment: Staples D-Link, Lutron hub, Harmony Hub w/extender, Amazon Echo, and Google Home. Couple of questions:

    Does the Wink 2 do processing locally, or is it still dependent on a cloud connection? How’s the latency with, say, pressing a switch to turn on a light?

    Can the Wink 2 use a Lutron PicoRemote as a controller for any device, or only for Lutron devices? This is one of the best features of Staples and prevents me from moving all my Lutron switches over to the Lutron hub.

    Thanks for your great info!

    1. Latency is greatly reduced as, indeed, Wink now allows for local processing. This was actually introduced as a firmware update to the old Hub, but the new unit does it even better. It is quick!!!

      As for the pico remotes, I haven’t tested that lately, and with Holiday, I’m leaving town momentarily. You may want to reach out to Wink directly there. But I recall reading on a forum recently this matter and am 75% certain someone said you’re still limited to pico remotes only controlling lutron switches. Perhaps there is a “go” button (z-wave) that you could utilize instead?

    2. Luton makes two versions of the Pico remotes.
      The first one is the standard Pico remotes that come with the dimmers and use the ClearConnect Protocol. They can only be used to control Lutron dimmers but can be paired to any number of them through the hub.
      The second Pico remote that Lutron makes is the “Connected Bulb” remote that utilizes ZigBee. This remote has four buttons and pairs to generic ZigBee bulbs as an On/Off/Dimmer. It can instead be used by the Wink Hub to activate shortcuts (one for each button, 4 total) – so by utilizing shortcuts you can control any product.
      Hope this helps!

  3. Hi Ari,
    Great info here on your blog. I’ll use your links to buy some of this stuff from Amazon to help you out a bit.

    In this post you said “What became VERY interesting findings during my testing was this: Alexa works with my Philips Hue lighting, as well as my Lutron Caseta switches, but not because I had the Wink Hub 2, rather they directly work with Amazon’s hardware. However, if you use the Wink hub to directly link your Hue bulbs or Lutron hardware, that works too!”

    But I’ve read elsewhere that Lutron Caseta switches DO require either the Lutron bridge or a Wink hub to get connected with Alexa. Would you be able to double check what you wrote?

    I’ve got some Lutron switches, but am on the fence between their Smartbridge or a Wink hub. If I went with a Wink hun (mainly to allow future items to be connected) would I be losing any functionality that Lutron includes in their Smartbridge?
    Thanks again!

    1. You are correct that you will need the Smart Bridge from Lutron to make the switches work; unless you get the Wink Hub instead. So yes, you need one, or the other, for sake of Alexa. But there in lies the rub.

      If you get the Smart Bridge from Lutron then you have HomeKit and if you’re an Apple user, you gain Siri voice too. But then you have a splintered home because any z-wave devices you have on your Wink system can’t interact with the Lutron. But yes Alexa still works too at the same time.

      On the flip side if you don’t need or want HomeKit, then the Wink Hub may be better simply because it aggregates more devices for you. And works with Alexa still, too.

      Hope this answers your questions and makes sense.

      1. I follow you, thanks. I have no Apple products (except an iMac, which cannot act as a HomeKit hub, strangely enough), so not interested in HomeKit. I was more wondering about Lutron’s Smartbridge vs Wink. Sounds like Wink can do everything the Lutron hub can do, and more. I think that’s the way I’ll go. Thanks again!

  4. Great article Ari.

    I consider myself a casual user in the smart home space, but I am aspiring to be a power user. I have been purposefully holding off on dropping a ton of money on everything because I feel like the industry is still very sharded. There are too many companies that insist on proprietary protocols, as opposed to using standards.

    With that said, I feel like is a problem that came about 3-4 years back, when there really wasn’t a successful standard. Do you see this changing in the near future, with hopefully more standards adoption? I really want Home Kit to succeed, but I can’t bring myself to buy anything just yet because the support isn’t really there. Hopefully more people get on board, and it becomes a universal standard that everyone adopts. If not, hopefully it is replaced by a different standard that Apple adopts.

    1. Jeremy, thanks for finding the site. It can be tough to make a plunge into the abyss of home automation, because, as you pointed out there is still a splinter in the protocols. That said, I really do love what Wink has done in this space to aggregate devices, and their Hub 2 reviewed above does a good job there. HomeKit is coming into its own, but as you pointed out, not many devices/support.

      Will that change? Goodness knows. I think that Samsung’s purchase of SmartThings will help finance growth for them. And Wink has been gaining more compatibility, giving them extra traction. Those two forces ultimately oppose what Apple’s HomeKit is trying to achieve, such that I think we wont see a clear winner in this segment, perhaps ever. But as more hacks occur, and things of that nature, Apple’s closed sandbox might better prove its value (read: the news recently about the web cam hack, things like that).

      If you’re looking to dabble, but want to tread lightly, try to get devices that work both in HomeKit, but also with Wink or Amazon. For example, Philips Hue, Lutron Caseta, or the Ecobee Thermostat. In my home I can use my Amazon Echo, my Siri/Apple devices, and other options — all with the same devices, because they span all options at the same time.

      If you have any other questions, do let me know!

  5. Hi, upon reading your blog, it seems you have much of the same gadgets as I do. Ring Pro doorbell, 2 Schlage Connect deadbolts, hue lights and light strips, nest thermostat and smoke/carbon monoxide detectors, Wink Hub 2, Google Home, Casetta Light switches, Chamberlain Garage Opener and Pico remotes – The only Apple product I own is an Apple TV gen 4. I use Harmony Remotes and am considering the Hub for some functions…. I like the way the hub makes all of these things operable with the exception of the Google Home, but I am assuming it will be in the near future. Being in Canada, Alexa is not an option at this time, and because it likes to know where you are it gets upset when it finds where you are, you have to lie to it and tell it you are in a nearby area in the US. Google Home is not yet available here either, but living 10 minutes from the border I got one and it seems ok with me being Canadian!!!

    All that said, I love the robots in the wink app, for example our door in the garage we only want locked at night for extra security. I was able to make a robot that makes sure the lock is on between certain hours. The lock itself only allows for locking within 30 seconds or not at all. With the Wink Hub 2, it is definitely faster than the original, seems smarter too. Because of the Wink Hub 2 I don’t need the Lutron hub or the one from Chamberlain, of course you still need the Hue hub but that’s fine. I also have two of the Wink Relays which are handy, I think the only shortcoming of the Wink app as I mentioned earlier is that it doesn’t talk to Google home yet, but I bet on VHS over Beta,,,,

    Overall I love all this stuff and am planning on picking up a nest cam tomorrow to watch the grandkids when they are here to figure out exactly what that big boom is when they are upstairs in their bedroom… Nice Blog…. Keep it up!

  6. Thank you so much Ari. Your blog is just what I needed to sort through all the newer technologies that have come out since I installed my X10 devices years ago. Looking to upgrade those now, and have some questions:

    In one of your posts you list what devices you have and have links to Amazon (thanks by the way, definitely plan to use those, more on that later) You have the Lutron PD-5S-DV-WH switches linked, but these are not Caseta switches. Do these still work with the Caseta and Wink hubs? I hope so, because they are a bit less expensive.

    To me, reliability is paramount (especially after the increasing flakiness of my X10). So the Lutron switches sound good. I am not thrilled with the look of them though because they don’t blend well with non-smart switches in my opinion. Love the look of the Elgato Eve switch, but the lack of 3-way is an issue (I Do have neutral wires, but two three way rooms) Any experience with the latency of these switches? Some reviews say it is a problem.

    A couple of my use cases use motion sensors, and I hope to add more. The X10 one works moderately well, on with motion, off after a certain time when motion stops. How can I replicate this with newer technology? I am thinking of the Elgato Eve motion sensor to stay HomeKit compatible, but that brings up the whole phone as hub issue. Does an Apple TV solve this issue in your opinion? I am in a three person house, and I need the automations to work every time, with all people, even if I am not home or my phone is out of cell range. Does the Apple TV act as hub, or merely connect to my phone-as-hub over the internet?

    The other option I am thinking is to stay as close to HomeKit as possible, but in the meantime use a Wink2 hub until HomeKit latency is solved and run a dual system. As far as I can tell, Wink integrates with the other devices I am planning (August locks, Ecobee, Arlo). As I understand, not only does Wink have a range of Z-wave (or other) motion detectors to choose from, it also easily programs for a timed off too. So I would get the Lutron switches, and use the Wink for now to get what I need, then if/when HomeKit latency improves, switch to a Caseta bridge, and swap out the motion detectors. Do you see any caveats with this strategy?

    Lastly, if I use one of your links to Amazon, and then navigate to purchase different items, do you still get the commission? (I just want to thank you for saving me so much time)

    Lots more questions, but I’ll stop here for now.

    1. It appears the official Lutron Caseta on/off switch is this item: http://amzn.to/2lkrShs — however, I can verify that I am indeed using the PD-5S-DV-WH with success on my Lutron Smart Bridge. However, I haven’t tested that switch on the Wink hub, so I cannot confirm that it will work there, sorry.

      Latency has greatly improved with Wink Hub 2 (and even maybe 1) because of software changes they have made. More of the switching is done locally (wifi) rather than cloud, which increases speed. As noted above, I primarily use my Lutron bridge to control my Caseta switches, so no issues here. Wink hub may be slower, but these days, that latency is marginal.

      Your strategy makes sense to me. However, there is one shortcoming right now that most hubs/platforms have which is that motion sensor lights turn on indefinitely. In other words, if you want your light in the garage to turn on after motion detected but then turn off if no motion is detected, it becomes a bit more of a hassle. I’m fairly certain you CAN make this happen with Wink but you’d actually have to make two separate robots. First robot is “when motion detected, turn on the lights” — second robot is “when no motion has been detected for at least X seconds, turn off the lights” — so it can be done, just easier with SmartThings. But I still prefer Wink.

      And 100% your plan-to-action is the same as mine. I’ve gone 95% HomeKit but haven’t actually tried the Elgato motion sensors (yet). I’m currently using Z-wave for a few things on my Wink hub, but then HomeKit for other items. Only issue I have is my system is splintered, in that I have HomeKit for lights, hence my Lutron Caseta are linked to the Smart Bridge– not the Wink. So my Wink hub can’t control my switches, but that is okay with me. And since a lot of items are WiFi such as the thermostat, etc, those actually work both HomeKit and Wink, at the same time, flawlessly. So I’d give a big thumbs up to your plan.

      If you use a link of mine, and end up on Amazon, ANY purchase you make for the next 24-hours gets credit for me. Even if you buy diapers, or a new toaster– any purchase you make for 24-hours. Short coming is this: if you visit, save something to your wish list, but don’t buy it for a few weeks, I may not get credit for it. However, if you want to ensure I get “credit” just use this link: http://amzn.to/2kP2Mu5 — that should take you right to the MAIN Amazon landing page, and in turn, any purchases you make immediately there after, I’d get my small commission. THANK YOU so much!

      Do you have any other questions I can help with? Your list sounds good from what I’m seeing. August, Ecobee, Arlo, etc. All great products, that will work nicely– and those 3 would work both with the Wink hub, and HomeKit (via Wifi) at the same time, a chance to “dabble” in both fields. Oh I never answered your question about the Apple TV.

      If you want geo-fencing activities those are linked just to the primary user, which would be you. For example, when my wife gets home, the lights do NOT turn on automatically, because HomeKit is really “single user” — which is one advantage to Wink in that I think it supports adding secondary users, who can then use their own geo-fence. That said, if you make a scene called “arriving home” then your other 2 house members, if you share HoneKit with them, could just say “Hey Siri, set the arriving home scene” and voila, it works! That might be a good solution there. But it sounds like you were going to start using Wink for your lights, so really, just share that way– those users install Wink on their own, but should be able to create some”magic” too 🙂

      Apple TV works as a “repeater” when you’re not home. It isn’t a hub in the traditional sense — if you are local, and you want to control your August smart locks, your iOS device will connect direct via Bluetooth from phone-to-lock. But if you are away from home, and you want to control those locks outside of the Bluetooth range, then what happens is your phone goes to the cloud, the cloud goes to the Apple TV, then the Apple TV creates a Bluetooth handshake connection with the lock, to perform the task. Downside: if your Apple TV is not centrally located in your house, some Bluetooth devices might be out of range and not connect properly. Make sense?

      Other Questions? Ask away… always love chatting at length about homekit and smart home automation! 🙂 Ari

  7. Hi Ari and Jim, may I be so bold as to suggest you have a look at the Schlage Locks? They are rated class 1 residential as opposed to a lower rating for the August; further, my friend who is a locksmith says the August can easily be defeated with a strong magnet as opposed to the Schlage which is much higher security, there is Schlage connect for android users with a wink hub or Schlage Sense for IOS. At least have a look.

    I also picked up my Nest camera today. 3 minutes to install and it was working flawlessly. Now I can keep watch on my grandkids when they are ‘supposed’ to be sleeping. I love that I can talk to them without climbing the stairs… it is hilarious to see their reaction when they know they are ‘busted’ and dive back into bed… great image and very satisfied with the product. The live image even shows up on the wink relays, which surprised me as the ring doesn’t.

  8. Just wondering, why don’t you simply use HomeBridge and the Homebrige-Wink plugin on say a Raspberry PI zero?
    I do that, and everything on my Wink Hub (either V1 or V2) is visible into HomeKit.

  9. Hello and thanks for the info. I have the wink hub and many products working on it. My problem is I just got three schlage sense locks and wondered if there is a way to use them through wink. I now realize it’s Bluetooth tech and wondered if there is some way to bridge the two?

    Thanks brian

    1. You’d want to reach out to Schlage or Wink for their answer. I’ve never tried. But the Schlage Connect is what you should have gotten (for Wink). Schlage Sense is BT, and intended for use with Apple’s HomeKit system or similar. The two are quite different in how they communicate as you’ve already mentioned. But overall have the same level of performance, just different eco-systems really. Good luck! (PS: I’ve had both, loved both– but use HomeKit these days instead of Wink, hence why I swapped to the Sense version)

  10. Just stumbled across your blog, good info. I was wondering if you can comment on the range of the Wink Hub 2 with Lutron Caseta switches? I have an aging X10 setup that I’m replacing. I also already have several Lutron Caseta switches in my house. My primary usage is turning lights on/off at sunset/sunrise, mostly outdoor lighting and some indoor (I used to use an old Smarthome X10 controller, capacitor blew in it so I figure time to join the modern world). I decided on ordering the Wink Hub 2 over Lutron’s hub, mainly because I wanted the flexibility to add other vendor’s devices (I also have an August Lock for example). But my house is fairly large and the switches are spread out, so I’m worried about reliability. I can’t seem to find much on range. I’m also a big Apple fan myself, and would like HomeKit compatibility, but as I don’t have an Apple TV currently (and it’s due for a refresh) did not want to purchase one now. Also, for my needs, do you think the Wink Hub 2 is the better choice over Lutron’s hub (I’m hoping to purchase some less expensive Z-Wave switches for some of my other lights). Thanks.

    1. My home is around 2,400sqft and uses all Lutron switches. Regardless of which hub you choose, the switches will be controlled via Lutron’s proprietary ClearConnect RF system which is strong, reliable, and works flawlessly for me. I don’t have any switches installed outside of my home, but the ones in the main structure all work fine for me. Reliability has been spot on- and at one point I used the wink hub for lutron with similar success.

      That said, which hub you choose depends on your needs. But you’ve already said you want to add your august lock and z-wave switches to the same eco system. In that case you’ve already made your decision so I’m not sure what you’re asking me. If you want to aggregate non Lutron items into a single system you either have to go all HomeKit, or choose a Wink or SmartThings hub.

      Hope this answered your questions. Let me know if you have any further. Btw if you google Lutron Clear Connect you’ll find some white papers and data about it that may be of interest.

      1. Thanks for the info. Reliability is really something I’m striving for here (coming from an old unreliable X10 system, this is important!). I have not bought any other switches yet, all I have are Lutron switches and lamp modules (3 switches and 2 lamp modules) and frankly, integration with my only other device (August Lock) is not the end all be all, I can live without that. If a 100% Lutron solution would work best, then I’m not oppose to that. I was thinking about Z-Wave though to save a few bucks. I have 6 outdoor LED flood lights I need non-dimming switches for and the Lutron ones (PD-6ANS-WH) are very expensive ($65 on Amazon). I already have two of those on other outdoor lights with Pico remotes (which I had to buy separately for that switch, another $20 per switch). Looks like there are some less expensive Z-Wave options. So that, along with the fact that there was little cost difference between the Lutron Connect and the WH2 pushed me to WH2. But I don’t want to “fight” with reliability issues. I’m also giving up HomeKit integration by going WH2 of course.

        Do you think it would be best to just spend the extra and stick with Lutron switches? GE seems to have some Z-Wave ones at half the price. I was also thinking the “repeater” feature of Z-Wave would help with my coverage too.

        I will Google for some info on Clear Connect. I have to cover about 4000 square feet, hence my range concern.

      2. You may actually want to start with a phone call to Lutron. Though I’ve never heard that ClearConnect devices don’t act as repeaters, I’ve also never heard that they don’t. Meaning that beyond the reliability of Clear Connect being really good, they might also have other advantages. Hence reaching out to Lutron may help clarify what the Caseta devices can do for you.

        Note that even using the WH2 you’re still going to be using ClearConnect, as it pertains to your Lutron Caseta devices. Wink’s hub has various radios inside it (Bluetooth, WiFi, ClearConnect, Z-wave, and more!). So when you’re talking to Lutron devices it will use their protocol. But when you talk to say an August lock that would use the Bluetooth. Of course, the whole point of the Wink hub is that it will aggregate devices, and allow you to create scenes. You can do the same thing, though, with HomeKit. For example, I have Schlage locks that are HomeKit compatible, Lutron switches with their hub, and smart bulbs from Philips Hue. I can create a scene that controls all devices at once, using Siri too! But the cheapest option for smart home remains Z-wave, and there aren’t many ways to integrate those yet (Insteon has some things in the works I’m lead to believe, but not sure Apple will approve the final portal needed).

        Overall based on your home size, your existing August locks it sounds like you already have, your desire for some cheaper switches in other places— I do agree that the WH2 (that you may have already bought it sounds like?) is a good bet. I think you’ll have good results with the Lutron switches, reliable and such– but not sure what their range limits are.– goes best way to find out is install, and try/see? Good luck!! Hope this reply helped once again.

      3. Thanks again Ari. You are right, I had ordered the WH2 a few hours before I found your post! It should arrive tomorrow (in time for weekend fun 🙂 ). I think you are right in that it will require some trial and error to see what works, but your info helps confirm my decision (although at the rate things are changing these days, I doubt I’ll have this as long as my old X10 stuff). I did find a white paper on Clear Connect here: http://www.lutron.com/TechnicalDocumentLibrary/Clear%20Connect%20Technology%20whitepaper.pdf. Interesting stuff (especially interested in the radio details as I’m a Ham). I do also have a friend at a Lutron dealer, but they mostly deal with RadioRA (however, it looks like it uses the same protocol). I might see if they have any insights on it as well.

        On Wed, May 10, 2017 at 4:35 PM, ari jay comet : blog wrote:

        > Ari Jay Comet commented: “You may actually want to start with a phone call > to Lutron. Though I’ve never heard that ClearConnect devices don’t act as > repeaters, I’ve also never heard that they don’t. Meaning that beyond the > reliability of Clear Connect being really good, they mig” >

  11. I am a Lutron distributor and have enjoyed changing over most of my home to Lutron Caseta stuff. Currently have a combined 75 or so Caseta switches, dimmers, plug modules and Pico remotes. Phase one for me was I think 43 devices and it worked great. The problem came when I tried to add more. Lutron radios typically can handle up to 50 devices. So I figured out that I was able to have switches in Wink but sync the Picos directly to the dimmers. I had the wise idea of deleting the Picos from Wink to add more capacity. Well that failed promptly and I had to add a second Hub. So I decided to add back the Picos to the hubs and use Wink for associations. Now I have between 30 and 40 items on each hub and I’ve hit a wall. I have one more device than my two hubs will take. When I add that item another one drops. I have to figure out where it is and then it happens again. I have a third Hub in my garage that basically controls only a couple of Kwikset locks that didn’t appreciate the range of the Wink Hub in my kitchen, so I guess I’ll have to use that hub to associate the last Lutron switch. What I’m getting at is that it kind of stinks that they limit the number of devices you can link. The switches are rock solid and in my 2500sq ft two story the basement Wink Hub easily talks to Lutron switches on the top floor at the opposite side of the home. Don’t worry too much about range and Lutron tends to claim way less range than it can do at least in normal construction. Was going to scrap my old Hub 1 but now I guess it’s part of the ever expanding game. Only non Lutron switches I have left are about 12-15 exterior loads like lighting, pond pump and such which I use zwave Leviton to control. Also have a Honeywell stat and MyQ garage controllers. That plus five Echo Dot units. I’m sure I’ve forgotten something but enjoy!

  12. So, to confirm, with a wink hub, I will NOT need the lutron smart bridge? And do I have to have pico remotes if I plan on controlling my dimmers with either my iPhone or Alexa? Or can I just have lutron Casey a wall switches and my trusty phone?

    1. If you are using Lutron Casseta in-wall switches, you can use the Wink Hub as your controller (you won’t need the Smart Bridge). However, then you can NOT use Siri. If you want to use Siri, you MUST get the Lutron Smart Bridge and use that INSTEAD of the Wink hub.

      If you want to use Amazon Alexa, you can get EITHER the Lutron Smart Bridge, or the Wink Hub, either will work.

      So if you want Alexa AND Siri, get the Smart Bridge. If you want just Alexa for voice, you can use the Wink hub. The latter also integrates with other features.

      No matter WHICH hub/bridge you use, you’ll be able to control everything with a smart phone either way. And you only need pico remotes if you want to control the lights with them– i don’t really follow your question there, sorry.

      1. Thank you so much, I think the wink is the way to go for me. My question about the lutron switches is: if I don’t want a bunch of pico remotes piling up, will the in-wall dimmers work with wink and Alexa if I don’t buy the pico remotes, or are the pico remotes necessary to the connectivity of all this stuff?

  13. Hi Ari. I am just starting out making my home a smart home. I am now trying to make a decision between the August lock and Schlage Sense. With the August lock I plan to purchase the August doorbell Cam, keypad and connect hoping they will work seamlessly. However, reviews aren’t too good. The Schlage Sense is also a consideration but I wish it would work with Alexa. I know it works with HomeKit. Also, I don’t know if there is a doorbell cam which will work with this. I do have an echo and it can control my car and garage at this point. I am also going to get a couple of Caseta dimmers and remotes. I was going to get a Lutron Smart Bridge but now I see I can get a wink hub which will control these lights as well as the August. I was also going to use HomeKit. I am a little confused at this time. Don’t want to get to many hubs or switches and since I am just starting out I need some advice to have a streamlined system where everything will work together and allow me to expand effortlessly. Please help!

    1. It is impossible for me to provide you an answer as each person & home has a unique set of needs. That said, devices like the Hue system by Philips or the Caseta lights by Lutron work both with HoneKit and Alexa at the same time. I would avoid using the Wink hub until their recent acquisition pans out. There is a chance they will be changing things and a new hub or software seems imminent. I would say alexa seems to have more traction than HomeKit but as an apple guy myself I’ve favored picking HomeKit devices. Not sure if this truly helps but sadly in today’s environment you need to pick a platform and then run with it. Hopefully you find one that works for you. Sounds like you’ve done some homework so you should be fine! If you have any specific further questions let me know

  14. I purchased the Schlage Sense not knowing it was only made for HomeKit. How did you receive notification/control of your Schlage Sense?

    1. You receive notifications using an Apple device running iOS. For example an iPhone, or iPad, or similar. If you’re looking to setup a Schlage with a Wink hub or similar, you need the Connect version. As you noted, the Sense version works with HomeKit only, and the Connect version works on Z-Wave protocols only. Cheers!

Comment or Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s