Home automation made simple : Belkin WeMo Switch + Motion


Home automation is one of the most talked about things in 2013. Even though this new idea and technology is already available to consumers, it has not really taken off. This is because DIY installation of home automation system is not as straightforward as it seems. However, Belkin is going to change that as their new WeMo lineup of products are proved to be extremely easy to install and use, making Home Automation mainstream to all users who owns a smartphone/ smart device.

First look

Thanks to our local distributor, the WeMo devices from Belkin is now available for purchase in Singapore. These WeMo devices are also made for our local market, meaning that they support our 240V home electrical systems and they also comes with our standard UK 3 pin plugs. You need not worry about compatibility issues.

The first series of WeMo devices consist mainly of the WeMo Switch, WeMo Lightswitch and WeMo Motion. These devices are tools which helps to automate different areas of the home, specifically targeted at electrical appliances. Today, we are are looking at the WeMo Switch+Motion bundle, which consists of the WeMo Switch and a WeMo Motion.

The WeMo Switch is a smart Wi-Fi client device which can connect to any wall plug to control any electrical device that is attached to it. For my home, I use it to remotely control my fan to switch it on and off. Other possible devices could be lights or even the air conditioner.

WeMo Switch

On the other hand, the WeMo Motion is in fact a motion detector which can work with all the other WeMo devices. WeMo Motion detects motion and triggers another action on other WeMo devices. For example, if one would to enter a room, the lights will automatically switch on. The WeMo Motion can even be used as a alarm system for security implementations via IFTTT which WeMo supports.

WeMo Motion

Setting it up

The main thing which differentiate the WeMo from other solutions is the whole idea of simplicity and ease of use for setting up the devices. Upon the downloading of the mobile app from the respective app store, a clear instruction is presented to the user. To setup the devices, simply connect to the respective WeMo device via Wi-Fi and launch the WeMo app.

Connecting to WeMo Device

WeMo App
After connecting to the WeMo device, the setup menu from the app will prompt the user to key in the home wireless network's password for connection of the WeMo devices to the home network. Each WeMo device can then be customized with a name and device icon for identification. The setup process is completed once the device is connected to the home network.

Setting up the WeMo device
Every individual WeMo device can be controlled at the main screen of the application. This screen is shown upon the launching of the application. From here, I can directly control the WeMo switch with the power button which is shown in the screen shot below. This means that I can remotely switch on my fan even when I'm sitting on my couch, without even reaching out my hands to the fan. That's what I call... the new generation of laziness!

Rules can be set to automate the switching on or off of the switch. For example, a switch can be turned on of WeMo Motion detects motion. Time specific requirements can also be set. Lights can be switched on specifically at the certain timing. Songs can be played via the sound system at a certain time to wake you up, etc. Thanks to the compatibility to IFTTT (If this, then that), this makes WeMo compatible with many other applications on the internet.

Firmware is also downloaded and updated periodically. Updating of firmware is foolproof and can be done to each WeMo device automatically.

Thoughts and Conclusion

Belkin WeMo is the first Home Automation device which I have used and I really appreciated the way they have made it to get users started easily. It opens up countless number of home automation possibilities and makes such technology possible for the average joe. 

Despite the job well done at the software side, I felt that Belkin could have put much thought into designing of the devices. The plugs of the WeMo switch and WeMo Motion are quite bulky and may take up too much space, preventing other devices to be plugged in at the socket next to it. This could be solved if the plug was made taller instead of wider. Other than that, I think WeMo is a great step forward for making home automation simpler for everyone. 

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