Wink smart home hub

Wink to finally start contentious smart home subscription on July 27

The smart home platform is locking customers out of features unless they pay $5 a month

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Wink, the smart home company and producer of the Wink Hub, angered customers in May this year when it announced a compulsory subscription service.

Going forward, the company said that key features would no longer work on Hubs already owned by customers, unless they paid $4.99 a month. Wink said at the time it had to switch to subscriptions as it could no longer afford to maintain its current business model.

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Now, having first given customers just one week to start paying on May 13, or move to a different smart home hub, Wink says the subscription model will begin on July 27.

Key features like access to the $100 hub via the Wink smart phone app, plus voice control via Alexa and Google Assistant, will all stop working unless customers start paying. The Wink Hub was originally marketed as a device that requires no monthly subscription.

Wink has also added some clarity to what will continue to work without paying. The company said this week: "Users who do not sign up will still have access to limited functionality without being charged. This will specifically allow for local control over select devices, such as those found in the Lights + Power menu, as well as Z-Wave connected locks."

A full list of devices that will remain controllable from the Wink Hub, without paying for a subscription, can be found here. It includes lights by GE, Sylvania, Halo and Sengled, plus switches by GE, Leviton and Lutron, and locks by Kwikset, Schlage and Yale.

Wink subscription limitationsList of features Wink users will lose unless they start payingWink

These products can only be controlled locally by the Wink system, meaning they can't be interacted with when your smartphone is not connected to your home Wi-Fi network. Not subscribing also locks Wink Hub owners out of API support, cloud controls, third-party integrations, advanced settings, plus key functions like adding new devices, editing device names, and even updating the firmware of their Wink Hub or Wink Relay.

Wink's position in the smart home market has looked uncertain for some time. Over the last couple of years it has been difficult to buy the Wink Hub, due to it regularly being out of stock on Wink's website. Then in May, the company surprised customers by announcing the compulsory subscription service, noting that "long term costs and recent economic events have caused additional strain on our business," and it "had no other way to continue the Wink service as it is currently known".

Wink WNKHUB-2US 2 Smart home hub, White

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