Home appliance control at the electrical outlet level is an amazing thing, and allows for the maximum amount of control over home automation.
With smart wall outlets installed you can set your home on autopilot, actively monitor your energy usage, and switch your devices on and off at a whim.
The problem? Having an electrician replace all your outlets with smart receptacles is an expensive venture. Belkin understands this, and accordingly, has developed the WeMo Switch as a plug-in solution for an intelligent wall outlet.
Getting Setup with the WeMo Switch
A WeMo switch will set you back around $39.99 when purchased directly from the manufacturer.
The package is smart looking with friendly inserts and instructions on how to get started. Once you unbox the device, plug it into a wall outlet and then download the WeMo app on your smartphone.
The app is relatively unremarkable. Its basic function is to help you get started and keep track of your WeMo devices with limited controls. If you like tech, this isn’t a deal breaker, as you can tap into your WeMo further by using IFTTT recipes.
Getting the WeMo to sync with your WiFi takes a few steps. The device requires you to sign into a temporary WiFi network, which takes a moment, but is only a minor annoyance. The set-up process takes about 5 minutes and the steps provided on the app are relatively easy to follow.
Once you connect your WeMo to your wireless internet, you can start exploring some of WeMo's cooler features. We've written about simple integration with the Amazon Echo. Using that article as a guide, you could - with a little legwork - control any appliance in your house with just your voice.
External Apps Extend Integration
However, the real power contained within WeMo is the easy integration with the third party app IFTTT.
Interested in tracking your electricity usage in Google calendar? This recipe2 will do the trick. Need WeMo to turn on certain appliances when you arrive home? This recipe that uses your smartphone's location tracking is right up your alley.
Once you connect WeMo to your other devices and pair it with IFTTT, the control you have over your home appliances takes on a whole new dimension. The functions of WeMo are highly customizable, so experiment with combos and recipes to get the best results.
The bottom line: Great product for gadget guys, but relatively one-dimensional if you just use the WeMo app.
Also worth noting: Once you have the WeMo paired with your network and have set-up automation, then the WeMo will live or die based on whether it's connected to the WiFi. If the WiFi goes out, so does the automation, which means no power, which can be frustrating. Be sure you have a reliable WiFi provider and router in place before putting your whole house in WeMo's hands.