Netherlands-based Smart Home company Thinka (pronounced ‘Tinka’) has launched its brand new gateway, the Thinka Z-Wave. If you’re relatively deep into smart home tech, you may have heard of Z-Wave, but usually not in the same breath as HomeKit, up until now that is, as this new hub is the world’s first Apple HomeKit-certified Z-Wave controller. It’s designed to be compatible with a choice of over 3,300 smart Z-Wave products that, via the new gateway, will, in turn, be exposed to HomeKit. By choosing Z-Wave as a protocol, a whole new swathe of smart devices is now available to HomeKit users via the new hub. Whilst the focus of this product is HomeKit, the Thinka Z-Wave also supports Amazon and Google Home.
As previously mentioned, Thinka is specifically honed in on support for HomeKit as their home automation platform of choice, mostly due to the strong privacy aspect that HomeKit offers compared to some other platforms, which is also one aspect that Thinka and Z-Wave as an organisation want to stress as the central core of Z-Wave, and by extension the Thinka Hub.
The company state that by connecting Thinka Z-Wave to your HomeKit home, a whole arsenal of high-quality Z-Wave smart devices becomes available. This gives users instant access to things like smart switches, dimmers, thermostats, doorbells, sprinklers, speakers, fans, curtains and all kinds of smart sensors from 600 different brands.
Although many seasoned Smart Home users may have had mixed experiences with Z-Wave in the past, with the connectivity to HomeKit, things are set to become a lot easier. Unlike WiFi and Bluetooth, Z-Wave is specifically developed for home automation; the protocol has an optimal range from the basement to the attic and to the furthest corners of the garden, has no interference with other networks, and is very energy-efficient so that batteries in sensors can last upwards of 10 years. The Z-wave protocol has the largest product range in the world with products that connect seamlessly with each other. Add to that the claim that this hub is what you might be able to humorously refer to as “one hub to rule them all”, in the case of Thinka Z-Wave, it becomes almost that, in terms of Z-Wave products, at least compared to Zigbee hubs by the likes of Hue or Aqara for example, where the hubs are only designed to work with their own products to a large extent.
We’ll be putting this new hub through its paces to see that it can live up to the claims made, and assuming it does, it could mean that Z-Wave can finally be seen as a viable option to HomeKit users. The gateway uses a similar visual look to some other hubs, with understated white plastic, and just two user-operable ports at the back – an ethernet port to connect the gateway to your network, and a USB-C port for powering the device. There’s also a USB-A port, although that’s for internal use by Thinka at this time. The hub can also be wall-mounted with an included plate.
Thinka is an Amsterdam-based tech company. Starting in 2015 with the launch of their first product Thinka – HomeKit for KNX, Thinka focuses on smart home technology. Thinka provides homeowners with the tools to install and manage their smart home in an intuitive and easy way. Thinka believes that interacting with your home should be like driving a car; smart, safe and comfortable. Their goal is to build products that make life easier and more fun. For more information visit the company’s website – www.thinka.eu