Home automation is one of those areas of technology that most people have filed away under the “too expensive” or “far too complicated” category in their brain. Belkin is looking to change that. Today at CES, Belkin announced a new product line that looks to simplify home automation by ditching proprietary protocols in favor of one that most people are already using in their homes: Wifi.
The Belkin WeMo home automation product line offers very simple setup and use. Simply plug their control switch into any outlet in your house, then plug an appliance (like a lamp, coffee maker, etc.) into the switch, and then turn the device on/off via their free smartphone app. Joining the control switch as the first of the products in this line will be a motion sensor. The sensor will also operate over wifi. When it detects motion it can send a signal to turn the lights on. When it doesn’t detect any motion, it can then turn the lights off. In addition to just using an app or the motion sensor to activate devices you’ll also be able to schedule events. For example, you schedule your front room’s lights to come on every night at 6pm and turn off at 10:30pm.
The devices and the smartphone app should release this summer. They will be available from Belkin directly and from Amazon. The control switch will retail for $49.99, and can control one device. You will also be able to pick up the motion sensor bundled with a control switch for $99.99.
(Playa Vista, CA) -January 9, 2012 – Belkin today launched WeMo, a line of simple, modular home automation products that allows household electronics to be controlled from anywhere using a mobile app on a smartphone or tablet. Consisting of two initial products, the WeMo Home Control Switch and the WeMo Motion Sensor, WeMo is a customizable, accessible home automation solution designed to simplify home maintenance and bring peace of mind to busy families and individuals on the go.
WeMo works with a home’s existing electrical system and requires only a Wi-Fi® network and free smartphone app to set up and control. Simply plug the WeMo Home Control Switch into any electrical outlet and then plug in any device, such as a lamp, into the WeMo Home Control Switch. Through the free smartphone app, the item then can be turned on or off remotely or scheduled to turn on and off at set times. The second product in the line is the WeMo Motion Sensor, which works with the WeMo Home Control Switch to make your device react to motion. Used together, WeMo can create a home environment that can turn a light on when someone walks in a room, or off when no one is present.
“Traditional home automation often involves expensive custom installation, but WeMo uses familiar technology to create a plug-and-play solution for controlling gadgets and appliances remotely and is simple enough for the entire family,” said Kevin Ashton, general manager for Belkin. “WeMo is designed to make the technical part of life easier, so you have more time to enjoy the spontaneous and organic moments in life that we all cherish. It’s home automation for the rest of us.”
AVAILABILITY The WeMo Home Control Switch and WeMo Motion Sensor are the first two products in the WeMo line and will be available in summer 2012 at major retailers in the United States and online at Amazon.com and Belkin.com. The free WeMo app also will be available for download in summer 2012. Availability of future WeMo products is unavailable at this time.
WeMo Home Control Switch (F7C027fc) – $49.99
- A plug that becomes a programmable on and off switch for any household device, from fans to lights
- Turns devices on or off from anywhere by using a smartphone
- Creates schedules for devices to turn on or off, and rules based on other sensors connected to Wi-Fi network
- Can work in tandem with the WeMo Motion Sensor, or as a stand-alone product
- Requires free WeMo app
WeMo Motion Sensor + Home Control Switch (F5Z034fc) – $99.99
- Detects movement, and devices plugged into the WeMo Home Control Switch can be programmed to react to motion
- Requires free WeMo app
- Motion sensor sold with WeMo Home Control Switch
The Home Control Switch and Motion Sensor are just the beginning of a full line of WeMo products designed to create a scalable, customizable system for simple, whole-home management. Future WeMo products still in development will include a remote garage door opener, door lock, lighting controls, and a baby monitor that lets you monitor sounds from your baby’s room from anywhere through your Wi-Fi network.
The Home Control Switch and Motion Sensor will debut at Pepcom’s Digital Experience! on January 9, 2012, in Las Vegas. These and prototypes of future WeMo products will also be on display in Belkin’s booth, South Hall #30651, at the 2012 International CES, January 10–13, 2012.