The idea of home automation seems a bit far-fetched, especially for those of us who aren’t in a position to or don’t have the money to build a whole new house. Belkin WEMO is a system you can buy off the shelf and add an impressive level of remote control to several areas of your home.
Yep, the ability to turn on the lights in my home from anywhere in the world is cool – it’s something worth showing off at times. But there is a practical reason for it too.
Belkin WEMO is an off the shelf system you can buy at Dick Smith Electronics and in some cases literally plug and play, and in others a simple installation and you’re running.
WEMO Switch is like a chunky adaptor for your power point. Plug it in and it creates its own little WiFi network. On your smartphone you connect to that network, then open the WEMO app. You then configure the switch, give it a name, connect it to your home WiFi network then you’re ready to rock.
The new device appears in your WEMO list and with the tap of a screen – the power point is on. In our home we’ve got one connected to a lamp in the lounge room, and we’ve even hooked the Christmas tree lights up to it.
WEMO Light Switch takes it one step further with true integration. In this case you replace your existing light switch entirely with the WEMO light Switch and after following the same procedure as with the plug-in switch – you’re ready to turn the lights on and off from your phone.
This is not all about outside the home too. After a bit of reading or TV in bed, just reach for the smartphone and press a button – lights out! And not just the room you are in, you can switch off all the lights.
Then consider the times you’ve left the home and left lights on – with WEMO you can check and then turn them off. If you’re prone to leaving the iron on, use a WEMO switch in that spot and just turn it off remotely.
Perhaps the hidden gem is the schedule. With the WEMO app you can schedule switches and lights to be on at certain times, off at certain times on or off with sunset or even – if you add the WEMO sensor, you can turn the WEMO Switch on and off with movement.
Overall the system is fantastic. The fully integrated Light Switch is the star of the show at $69.95 being totally integrated, however you will need a sparky to put it in, and it does require a “neutral” connection – and if you don’t know much about wiring and electrical, ask the question before you buy it.
The Light Switch is something different for users, it’s not a normal “switch” as you may be used to – its more of a button which has a small light on it to tell you when it’s on and off – so be sure that the family knows what it’s like before installing!
The Switch alone is $59.95 and the switch with sensor is $119.95.
I love the idea of this system, and in practice in our home it’s proving a worthwhile investment.
I can’t wait to see the future for this technology, with perhaps a smaller or fully integrated “Switch” module, and goodness knows what else!
Trev is a Technology Commentator, Dad, Speaker and Rev Head.
He produces and hosts two popular podcasts, EFTM and Two Blokes Talking Tech. He also appears on over 50 radio stations across Australia weekly, and is the resident Tech Expert on Channel 9’s Today Show each day and appears regularly on A Current Affair.
Father of three, he is often found down in his Man Cave.