Wink offers "Wink BLUE" - A premium tier with $5.99/month fee

Well… this is an interesting development.

The Wink BLUE program includes 20% off “Wink Branded Products” (which offsets the $5.99 monthly revenue, I guess)… so this more of a loyalty-membership program (like Costco or Amazon Prime) than just a money grab?

Is this a desperate move from Wink? Or is this a clever way to provide a higher quality of support to customers while helping the company sustain and grow?

https://www.wink.com/winkbluelanding/index.html

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Will.i.am starting to change the business model, I think.

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Wasn’t last year that we all were begging SmartThings to take our money in exchange of increased reliability and more local processing? I think it’s an interesting development by Wink to move into the subscription based business. And wouldn’t be surprised if this is just introductory pricing of some sort… Time will tell.

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Very interesting move. I’d be interested to see what they “insights” report looks like. That’s one thing I’d love to have, but too lazy to go to the hassle with ST.

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Well… Definitely not all SmartThings customers were willing to consider the value of paying monthly fees.

Now SmartThings gets the advantage of seeing whether this strategy is effective, neutral, or… suicide.

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I wil be pissed if I start having to pay monthly fees for this. Very pissed.

I was thinking of adding a survey here to see if SmartThings Community members would pay for the equivalent of “Wink BLUE” from SmartThings:thinking:

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As we’ve discussed before, I don’t think our own forum community here is really relevant to this as a business decision.

Many people here will tell you that “no one would ever pay a monthly fee for home automation” and yet the fact is there are literally millions more people paying a monthly home automation fee now to the big cable companies and security companies. Literally millions more.

So the business decision isn’t what percentage of the current DIY group would be willing to pay a fee. Rather it’s what percentage of those currently paying $40 a month or more would switch to a SmartThings system at a viable self-sustaining fee level Given the current levels of complexity and reliability.

I don’t see them doing a poll in these forums and getting much new market research information from that. I think it could only make them look bad from a branding standpoint.

JMO, obviously. :sunglasses:

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This is certainly similar to the many thought experiments and speculative discussions that have occurred here in the past … wondering what SmartThings’s revenue options are (other than 1 time equipment sales). Monthly fees for premium services (e.g., video, monitoring, friends and neighbor alerts…) have always been on the table. But now a major comparable player in the industry has taken the first step.

Wink has always been a lifetime no subscription fee service — just like SmartThings.

Suddenly Wink adds a few incremental benefits for an optional $72/year. That definitely beats $40 per month, but it doesn’t including professional monitoring. And not sure what is the exact definition of “priority support”.

“Choice is good” (hmmm… who I am quoting :wink:). When it comes to optional fees, however, a consumer that chooses to pay the extra fee has to feel they are getting value for it.

And you’re right that ST Community members can’t offer an unbiased opinion. Rather than “Priority Support”, we get much more value relying on each other (as one Wink Group commenter noted) Hey … There’s a crazy idea, SmartThings… make the Community a “premium option” - JUST KIDDING!!! :speak_no_evil:

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Did somebody mention poll?

How much would you be willing to pay for an equivalent of “Wink BLUE”, if SmartThings would introduce such plan.

  • $10 per month (or more)
  • $5 per month (but not more than $10)
  • nothing

0 voters

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There’s always been one huge difference between SmartThings and Wink, though. SmartThings was acquired early by Samsung, and so had potential deep resources both in terms of technical expertise and funding if Samsung chose to deploy those. So while it still had to prove its worth to the parent company, it could be driven by long-term strategies.

In contrast, wink has always been about three months away from bankruptcy, in one direction or the other. Its first parent company, quirky, went through bankruptcy, and gave the Wink division to its primary creditor, Flextronics, after no other buyers could be found. (Amazon, Home Depot, and GE all passed.)

Flextronix then tried to spruce it up for sale, but in spite of one strategic partnership with Amazon, still couldn’t find any major IOT buyers (again, Amazon, Home Depot, and GE all passed). Then in a surprise move it was sold to Will.i.am for an undisclosed, but probably fairly small, sum. It now appears to be a vanity project, although maybe not. We’ll just have to see what happens with it.

Right now in the low-end of home automation the market has shown a willingness to pay extra for three things:

Cellular back up

Monthly professional monitoring

Cloud storage plus some extra camera features such as facial recognition.

Wink’s new offering has none of these. In fact, other than priority customer service support and equipment discounts, it’s hard to figure out what it does have.

It looks like it’s modeled much more on retail loyalty programs where you pay a fee to “join the club” and then you get discounts for a year. Club O for overstock is a good example. But it’s not like Will.i.am has a lot of experience with retail, either.

I think this is just more a matter of “let’s throw this out there and see if anybody pays for it.”

I’m sure somebody at Samsung will keep an eye on it, but wink isn’t really a “major player” in any sense at this point. Certainly not when compared to Amazon or Vivint or Apple or Nest or even Lowes. While it’s the most comparable competitor to SmartThings, I don’t see anything that Wink does as driving the industry in any significant way.

JMO

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There were reports it was 38.7 million plus 20 million in future commitments of manufacturing with flex.

Yeah, that’s a small sum in this space. :sunglasses:

Actually, now that you mention it, the new paid tier is probably a way of pushing product so they can hit that $20 million commitment in purchases from Flextronics.

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Don’t forget about access to those sweet new icons too!

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It’s similar to a ‘subscription’ tier that Ring has, that being says, in that tier Ring also offers something tangible that other companies can’t offer on Ring’s own products (like discounts). For example, in that tier, Ring offers extra discounts on their products like Wink BLUE, but you may find that during sales, some companies may end up offering the same products lower than what your subscription service will be able to offer, at which point you’re probably going to be wondering why you’re paying for the subscription service in the first place.

But Ring also throws in unlimited recording on “unlimited” devices (with some catches) in that subscription service, something unique that someone cannot offer on their own platform. So as it stands, no, I wouldn’t pay for Wink BLUE but I would pay for the Ring subscription. I’m not even mad at Will.I.Am and Wink despite how much I have a dislike for both, they’re actually trying to turn the company around and it has to start from somewhere and that’s money.

Would I pay the same for SmartThings? I have a weird (and probably unfair) rationale that prior to their Samsung acquisition, sure, I might have paid for something like that but now that they’re own by Samsung, no. With Samsung money, they’re not hurting as such, they just need Samsung to see that benefit of providing that adequate funding through the company but I’m still unclear as to Samsung’s intentions with SmartThings or if they are still treating like a toy and providing the financial backing it needs.

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They also offer the lifetime warranty on their devices as long as you maintain the plan. It’s actually a decent deal. Wink Blue? Obviously a high-margin service created primarily to boost cash flow at the expense of customer goodwill. My guess is that a high percentage of those who subscribe will drop the service within the first 6 months.

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Guess what? You were absolutely RIGHT! These broods of vipers did prey on us, Extorting monthly fees to use their devices for some supposed covid whatever! … A horde of Bandits!
Hopefully they will file bankruptcy and clear out the path for serious business (if any still eft in this world)