Home automation, woo! Until recently, home automation was technology for the wealthy. Luckily for us, Belkin has shifted that paradigm, and offers a perfect solution for setting up your own home automation without breaking the bank. Belkin’s WeMo lineup allows you to control lighting and appliances from anywhere in the world. They even offer scheduling and motion detection activations. The WeMo Light Switch, which is a Wi-Fi enabled switch, controllable from iOS and Android phones and tablets, from anywhere.
The Belkin WeMo Light Switch is compatible with any one-way wall light switch. The WeMo App works with Android smart devices running Android 4.0 or higher (Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean) and iOS v5 or higher on devices such as the iPod touch (3rd generation and later), iPhone (3GS and later), and iPad (all models).
The WeMo Light Switch, by Belkin, looks just like a regular light switch; it’s installed like a regular light switch, and most importantly, it works like a regular light switch too. It’s a push button switch with instantaneous feedback. What makes WeMo unique is its built-in Wi-Fi receiver. It connects to your Wi-Fi router and requires no special treatment or cables; the switch is the only additional device you need to automate your lights.
Installing the WeMo light switch is no different from any other switch install. If you’re unsure, then ask an electrician to help. It requires a neutral cable, which is common in most wall switches. It’s compatible with one-way light switches, not three way (2 or more switches). Once installed, it works as a regular push button light switch. For iOS/Android access, there’s a one-time setup to get WeMo connected to your router. From your device, connect directly to the WeMo Wi-Fi connection it broadcasts. Open the WeMo app and give WeMo your Wi-Fi name and password. From there on, you’ll be able to control the lights from any iOS or Android device, from anywhere in the world! It’s a really quick and easy set up; you don’t even need to set up a user account. The WeMo app is great and helps walk you through the setup.
The WeMo light switch is one of the more basic WeMo products, but it does it’s job very well. It turns lights on and off, and you can set up scheduling. There’s no dimming. WeMo offers motion detection as an additional device. The WeMo light switch is a modular device, so you can install them all over the house and control lighting from one simple application. Over WiFi, lights respond in under a second. Over 3G/4G, it can be a few seconds depending on the connection.
Scheduling is a great feature. I use it as my wakeup call in the morning. I also set my lights to shut off on work days around 9am, in case I forget. The WeMo app is compatible with IFTTT (If This Then That), allowing you to set up crazy automation like: “If I check in on FourSquare, then shut off my lights”. Remotely controlling the lights is ultra convenient, especially the times you really need it.
Belkin’s WeMo lineup is a network of home automation devices. The best part of WeMo is you can start off small and expand at your own pace. At $49.99 for the WeMo Light Switch, it’s a very affordable investment. The WeMo light switch also has premium look and feel to it. There’s an always-on LED which helps you find the switch in the dark. Pushing the button requires a light tap; it’s slightly easier than using other light switches. The clean white faceplate can be swapped out for an existing rocker-style faceplate. The Belkin WeMo Light Switch is currently available from Amazon.com.
The Good: Easy and affordable home automation, scheduling, IFTTT compatible, functions as regular light switch, easy setup, modular, and doesn’t require login information.
The Bad: Can’t turn off LEDs on switch, requires neutral wire (which is on most, but not all light switches) and only works with one-way switches.