Will.i.am has had a hard time breaking into the tech market. In his latest entrepreneurial venture, he’s jumping into the smart home game. What could go wrong?
Innovator and musician Will.i.am’s lack of luck in the gadget world has always come down to the fact that he’s been so far ahead of his time. It’s not that his failed ideas’ time has ever come, but it will one day. While people like Musk and Zuckerberg bicker over how much of a threat is posed by the AI revolution, Will.i.am has been warning us that we need to stop and think before we 3D-print humans. Were you thinking about that? No. He was, long before you.
Among Will.i.am’s gadgets that haven’t taken off, he’s released: a $315 iPhone case that had its own app called i.am+foto.sosho, a smart watch that was actually a smart cuff that was actually two smart cuffs that you wear at the same time, and, most recently, some high-end headphones that make you look like your wearing two of Lieutenant Uhura’s earpieces at the same time. In 2016, he launched another smart watch that required you to pay $28 a month for some sort of service and it had no apps. “The last paradigm was the apps thing,” he said at the time. And he was right. And it still is.
That shit’s in the past and Will is all about the future. The future is smart homes. 2017 is expected to be “the year of the smart home” and one recent report estimates that the tech will have a compound annual growth rate of 13.61% through 2023. Will.i.am’s company, i.am+ announced today that it has acquired the beleaguered smart home device maker Wink and together they are going to control everything in your house. They didn’t have a whole lot to share:
Our teams are in the process of coming together to shape our future roadmap and we can’t wait to share what we’re working on.
In the meantime, please know that your Wink app and Wink Hub will continue to operate just as they have. The acquisition doesn’t change anything with regards to the Wink user experience.
If Gizmodo’s experience with Wink’s smart is any indication, the transition wouldn’t be too noticeable because our Wink Hub was bricked by a security update.
But that’s ok. Will.i.am is here to + up your Wink, and solve that problem. Here’s a list of problems that smart home makers have faced in the past that Will.i.am will need to address:
1. Samsung’s hacked smart locks.
2. Insteon’s full home takeover including the ability to steal personal information.
3. Google’s Nest cams found to be easily shut off via Bluetooth command.
4. Hackers installed the first ransomware on a smart thermostat.
5. Nest Labs’ smoke detectors found to be easily disabled with a simple gesture.
We could go on, but there’s really no need, Will’s got this. Even if you don’t ever buy a Wink device, you still might benefit for his new venture. In 2016, a massive botnet used insecure “internet of things” devices to launch a DDoS attack on Dyn’s domain name servers and it briefly took down a huge chunk of the internet. And now, there’s even more i.am+ devices we can bring into this worrisome environment. Great.