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Wink Relay Now Supports Uber

June 28, 2016 / Global

This is a guest post from Wink’s CTO and co-founder Nathan Smith.

Wink Relay is a touchscreen control panel that brings the power and convenience of the Wink smart home right to your wall. Replacing a standard light switch, we designed Relay to be an ambient touch point for controlling your connected devices. Today we’re extending what’s possible with Relay beyond the smart home through a new integration with Uber.

Uber will appear as a widget on the Relay homescreen starting today. To get started, simply select the widget, log in to your Uber account, and you’re good to go (your default Home location and credit card information will automatically carry over to Relay). From there, you can order a ride through Relay, or check your driver’s ETA at a glance on the homescreen if you’ve ordered the ride through your phone.

Order a ride right from the touchscreen of your smart home’s central command center

Bringing the Uber experience to Relay

Creating an intuitive Uber experience on Relay was an interesting challenge from an engineering perspective. Relay, by design, is an unobtrusive glanceable interface best optimized for displaying passive information. It’s also intended to be shared — anyone in the home can trigger actions on the Relay touchscreen. The mobile phones on which Uber apps live are inherently private to their owners. The context available to Uber users within the mobile app is rich — much richer than is appropriate for Relay.

So, how do you take an individualized, deep user experience and translate it in a way that makes sense for a common, passive (with minimal context, by design) interface? Identify the single most important use case of Uber for Relay users — ordering a ride and checking the status of that ride — and leverage Uber’s “Time Estimates” API to make it a reality.

Coming soon to Uber on Relay

In the future we plan to augment the current experience with additional options that play to Relay’s strengths, including a list of frequent destinations using the Uber “Ride History” endpoint and fare estimates using the Uber “Price Estimates” endpoint.

We’ve built the Uber Ride Request Widget into the Wink platform to allow for deeper integrations with connected home devices. Wink’s backend has a rich automation system that, in time, could connect with the lights, locks, and other devices in your home when you’re interacting with Uber. For example, the Uber widget could flash your lights as your ride arrives, or lock your door behind you as the car pulls away.

We’re really excited to bring the power of Uber onto Relay. Doing so required us to build an entirely new widget architecture that works with the custom Android OS that powers Relay, and we expect to open up this architecture to third party developers in the future. If you’re interested and want to connect, learn more about partnering with us.

To get updates from the Uber Developer team in the future, follow our publication or follow us on Twitter.