Why The World Needs Quirky’s Open-Source Invention and Product Development

When you think of research and development, you probably think of a stuffy office filled with cubicles and pants suits that churns out products you’ve never heard of and likely never will. Quirky aims to put a stop to all that. CNBC describes Quirky’s home base as a “repurposed red brick warehouse in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood [that] is a bustling hub of modern industrial activity.” The company created what it describes as “open-source invention and product development,” and its chief modus operandi uncovers the limitless potential behind the technology and gadgets destined to change the way you think about the world around you. After fielding 4,000 new product ideas a week, Quirky lands on the three brightest of the bunch and harbors all aspects of production, from blueprints and manufacturing to marketing and distribution. From pitch to prototype to salable product, Quirky incubates the ideas of the future and delivers the game-changers of the present. Its latest all-encompassing endeavor is its smart-tech spinoff, Wink, whose focus technology is software that connects smart home devices using a pseudo-open operating system. Seeing as nearly about one in four of the ideas coming to Quirky involve “smart” communicating home devices, forming Wink to handle the output seemed the natural next step for this modern company to take. Not-so-smart Smart Devices The main issue with smart devices as they are now is that while many of them exist, just that many can’t communicate with each other, leaving consumers with a household of mute devices to configure and operate separately. Instead of the automatic locks signaling the smart light bulbs to turn on when you walk in the door, you have to activate both on separate smartphone apps, thus leaving convenience at the door. With an open-source software akin to Wi-Fi that allows more than one smart device to communicate with each other on the same channel, Wink opens the door for interactive smart home technology. A single app from Wink controls the users’ smart devices to work in tandem with each other in a seamless and natural way—the way developers intended them to work. Wink removes the constraint of too many confusing computer languages that once plagued smart tech developers, and Quirky has thus smartly positioned itself to be a leader in this growing industry. Quirky’s All-seeing Eye Think the smart tech industry is still a trend saved for the far-distant future? Think again. Experts predict that sales in the eight major categories of smart home products, including lights, thermostats and video cameras, will surge from 11 million units and $1.4 billion in 2013 to 25 million units and $3.5 billion by 2018. Always with a finger on the pulse of tomorrow’s technology, Quirky has sent a suggestive Wink over to tech-savvy consumers signaling what’s to come. As with the Wink project, collaboration and forward thinking are at the heart of Quirky’s every move, and combining the two results in practical and sometimes fantastical solutions for problems of the past, present and even those not yet experienced. The startup pushes out products with an innovative agenda rather than for the sake of just pushing them out for quotas and profits. When startups and larger companies operate to foster ideas rather than dollar signs, innovation is bound to follow, and the tech and business landscape becomes a more positive marketplace for consumers and businesses alike. More helpful products on the market cultivate shifts in consumer thought and raises expectations of the businesses that create them and the future that awaits them. [zipfinder]
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