Product snapshot: Belkin WeMo

Hook your house up to Wi-Fi, control your lights with an app

Belkin’s WeMo is, in a few words, a home automation system. It works to give you Wi-Fi control over your appliances and electronics, using a plug-in connector that connects to your wall socket or powerboard, remotely switching on and off your home’s technology when you want.

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We got our hands on Belkin’s WeMo Switch + Motion kit. For $119.95, you get two main components. There’s a WeMo Switch — this is the plug-in connector that you stick in your wall’s power socket, and then connect to your lamp, or TV, or heater, or any other appliance.

The other component of this particular WeMo kit is the WeMo Motion sensor. It also plugs into a wall socket, but has a 10-foot-long wire that ends with a little cylindrical hockey puck. This is the motion detector — aim it to cover a doorway, for example, and it will activate when someone walks in.

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When the WeMo Motion sensor is triggered, it communicates with the WeMo Switch, telling it to turn on the power to whatever is connected. You could use the WeMo Motion to turn on the lamps in a room when you walk into your house, for example — especially useful if you’ve got energy-saving compact fluorescent globes that take a few minutes to warm up and get to the right brightness and colour.

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More than being a simple motion sensor, though, the WeMo Switch kit, and the WeMo family more generally, are designed to be fully controlled through a Wi-Fi-connected smartphone or tablet running Apple’s iOS. Once you’ve connected the WeMo to your home’s wireless, Internet-connected network, you can use the free Belkin WeMo app on your mobile to name particular switches and turn them on and off.

Similarly, you can set the Belkin WeMo up with the free If This Then That service. When the WeMo motion switch detects you opening your front door — or anyone opening your front door — it can post a message to Twitter, send you an email, or any other of a huge range of variables. All this is infinitely customisable, just like your potential WeMo setup.

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You can, of course, add extra WeMo switches to your setup, although you’d need quite a few to kit out an entire house, or even an entire living room, full of WeMo-enabled power sockets and powerboards. You can set several switches up to run off a single WeMo Motion sensor, too.

Each WeMo Switch is $59.95, and the WeMo Switch + Motion kit is $119.95. Belkin has also set up a WeMo Community for owners to discuss potential uses for the kit.

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Campbell Simpson

Campbell Simpson

PC World

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