Wink Powers Smart Home Control and Monitoring App With PubNub

wink-smart-home-realtimeWink is a smart home platform, hub, and mobile application that allows users to monitor and control connected devices in their homes. With the Wink App and the Wink Hub, users and view and control a number of smart home products like locks, lights, thermostats, as well as irrigation systems and larger appliances.

Wink is currently partnered with leading smart product manufacturers including GE, Nest, Schlage, Leviton and Philips, and many other top brands.

Realtime Monitoring of Device State

The Wink platform can communicate with and control a number of Z-Wave, ZigBee, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth devices. However, controlling devices is only one piece of a smart home solution.


An essential cog of a home automation platform is the ability of users to be able to monitor the state of their devices in realtime. If a device is turned on or off, or a custom state is changed, that current state needs to be immediately reflected and updated on the client application.

To ensure the immediacy of the device state monitoring, the Wink development team needed a way stream data in realtime from the backend to the client application. The platform required a way to push data from the devices in the field, to the backend, then to the applications, all in a tight realtime loop.

Scalable and Easy to Implement

In looking for a data stream network to power realtime communication with the Wink App, the development team wanted a solution and realtime messaging API that would deliver technical requirements, as well as ease of implementation.

“What separated PubNub from other options was that it was an out-of-the-box solution that delivered what we needed. PubNub met our criteria: affordable, technical requirements, and collaborative partner. The API was very easy to integrate, both from the client and server sides. It was straight forward to implement PubNub into our apps, and start sending data over channels from our API.” said Matt Bornski, Director of Backend Engineering at Wink.

A Realtime, Interactive UI for Device State

To build realtime device state monitoring, the connected device in the field communicates upstream to the backend, and the backend delivers updated device state to Wink App. The Wink development team implemented the PubNub Data Stream Network to transfer data between the backend and the Wink App.

“PubNub sits between the backend and the mobile apps, and acts as the realtime conduit between state changes that happen with real physical devices. Once those state changes are communicated and sent to the backend, we use PubNub to communicate that update to users on the app in realtime,” added Bornski.


The Wink App UI is powered by PubNub. The UI makes a direct request to the API, then waits for a PubNub message telling it that the Wink app has processed the data, and updates the device state.

Bornski elaborated, “When using a smart home platform like Wink, consumers expect accurate and realtime information in the app. They want to turn off a light switch and see it immediately reflected in app. That consistency and responsiveness gives users confidence in the technology. PubNub enables us to deliver that.”

Tackling Realtime Challenges

Implementing and scaling their home automation platform with PubNub, Wink continues to add new features as their user base continues to grow. In offering a wide variety of realtime features on top of PubNub core Pub/Sub Messaging, Wink can evolve their platform, and add new, appealing options for their users.

“The out-of-the-box configuration let us tackle a lot of our early challenges, and as we’ve grown, one of things we really appreciated was PubNub advanced features that we can enable as we need them.”

Building realtime functionality and device monitoring into a home automation platform is essential, giving users up-to-the-second insight into their home. On top of that speed, security is key, and users expect that their home is protected. With a fast, reliable, and secure platform, Wink delivers that expectation to their users.

“Wink is a connection to your home and the people in it. Our users must be able to depend on and trust the service. We seek partners that have the same mindset. Whether its a manufacture partner, or a backend partner like PubNub, that trust is essential,” said Matt McGovren, Head of Marketing at Wink.

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