Home automation sort of feels like a lost art. It's popular, yes, but only in high-end homes, generally speaking. Even Google tried to push it mainstream last year with the introduction of Android@Home, but alas, it was mostly a nonstarter. Now, Belkin is dipping its toes into the game with WeMo. It's a line of modular, Wi-Fi-based products that turn an iPhone
, iPad, or iPod touch into a remote control for household devices. Consisting of two initial products, the WeMo Switch and the WeMo Motion, WeMo works with the free WeMo app to create a scalable, customizable home control system.
The WeMo Switch is a small device that plugs directly into any electrical outlet and serves as the main building block for WeMo. Once the Switch is connected to the home Wi-Fi network, any device plugged into it can then be turned on or off from anywhere, whether at home or on the go with the WeMo app. The app also enables users to put devices on a timed schedule, so devices will turn on or off at pre-set times.
The WeMo Switch + Motion adds a sensor that reads motion within 10 feet and will turn on or off anything plugged into the switch based on motion. The WeMo app tells any device plugged into the corresponding WeMo Switch what to do when motion is sensed. The app also allows users to create rules or schedules based on customized intervals. For example, turning off a lamp if no motion is sensed in the room after 10 minutes. WeMo also features integration with IFTTT, an online service that allows you to create tasks combining different Internet-based services from one platform. Through the WeMo channel on IFTTT, you can use a WeMo Switch or Motion to trigger a variety of services, including email, weather, phone calls, Twitter, Facebook, etc. For example, you can set up a motion sensor by your front door and use IFTTT to create a rule that will send a text message to your phone anytime motion is sensed.
The WeMo Switch will go for $49.99, while the Switch + Motion goes for $99.99. The iOS app, of course, is free; the products themselves will ship on June 26th.