November 12, 2014 weblog
Quirky and GE unveil seven products for smart home
New York-based Quirky and GE have seven new smart home products. Each product represents the building blocks of an affordable and accessible smart home, said the Quirky CEO, Ben Kaufman. The other special part of this announcement is the quirky nature of Quirky, founded in 2009, which uses an online community of tinkerers, inventors and collaborators to seed and develop product ideas. An in-house team of designers and engineers collaborate with Quirky's online community on development. When a product is sold, Quirky shares revenue with every community member that had an impact.
TechCrunch refers to Quirky as a "crowdsourced invention engine." The products unveiled this week were developed through the Quirky network. (According to CNET, "Denny Fong, an optometrist from Toronto, Canada, who submitted the ideas for the Norm temperature-controller and Spotter sensors, said he was happy to fulfill a long-time interest in engineering by joining Quirky's community.") Thousands of ideas are submitted to Quirky each week. According to the Quirky site, people vote on the ones they like, and each Thursday industry experts, community members and friends gather at the New York headquarters to debate the best ideas. They choose the next products they will be working on.
Quirky and GE joined forces last April to partner in bringing out connected products. The partnership provdes the two with a strategic advantage of combining Quirky's community and platform with GE's scale and technology.
The new product lineup:
- Tripper is a sensor put on a window or door and knows if the window or door is open or closed. A two-pack costs $40.
- Norm is a white box, at $80, that regulates humidity and temperature, using a series of sensors throughout the home, and can be controlled through a smartphone. Additional sensors are sold separately.
- Overflow, at $35, is a water sensor that can detect water leaks and alerts users through their phone.
- Ascend is a garage-door controller at $100 (invented by a San Diego software engineer who hopes one day to build his own successful startup).
- Tapt is a $60 light switch that lets owners dim the lights from their phones.
- Outlink is a $50 wall outlet for tracking energy usage.
- Spotter, an all-purpose home sensor, was updated, which is now a "more robust" Spotter UNIQ. This is described as the next-generation of their home sensor, customizable and built to order.
CNET's Ben Fox Rubin, writing about the event, said Quirky was pushing out a series of advertisements to educate consumers on the value of smart-home technology. Quirky CEO Ben Kaufman said in Engadget that the company has been working on this new family of devices since it teamed up with GE last year.
Tuesday's announcement also highlighted the Wink app that interacts with hundreds of connected devices from leading brands. Lights, power, security can be controlled through a single app, so the person does not need a different one for every product. Smart home products from different brands can connect or communicate with each other. "In July of this year, Quirky spun off Wink," said the press release, "the company that connects you to the products you rely on in your home." The release said the products are available on Wink.com and at national retailers during the holiday season.
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