CNET First Look
Belkin WeMo Switch + MotionEase of use and a broad array of programming options are a highlight of Belkin's WeMo home automation line.
Hi. Ryan Crist for CNET here, and we've got the Belkin WeMo Switch and Motion detector to look out today. This is basically a socket that you can power on and off with your smartphone. And that's really a cool thing because you can plug anything into it and then make that into a remotely controlled device. The WeMo Switch sells on its own for $49 but for $79, you can get a package with the WeMo Motion detector. Now, this device plugs in just like the WeMo switch but it connects to this motion detector. Then you can use that to power the WeMo switch. Either way, if you get the WeMo switch or the WeMo switch and motion, you're gonna control it with the WeMo app. And this is an app that you can download for iPhones, for iPads and also for Android devices. The WeMo app is really easy to use. It's really intuitive and simple and a great thing about it that I like is that, when you first plug your devices, it walks you through the setup process. It gives you step-by-step instructions of how to connect it to Your Wi-Fi network and how to get started [unk]. With the WeMo app, we'll be able to create what they call rules, and these just dictate what the device does when different things happen. So let say, you want your lights to come on at 8AM. You can program that really easily. And let say you want the lights to come on when you enter the room and trigger the motion detector, that's really easy too. This is all pretty standard in the world of home automation and it makes a good entry point at the price point. But, the great thing that I'm really excited about with the WeMo, is that it offers full integration with "if, this, then, that" or IFTTT. Now, IFTTT is a great free online service that connects your favorite web services, social networks and online tools and make some do things together. So when you do something on Facebook, something happens on Instagram or when you do something with your Gmail account, something will happen on Twitter. What I'm really excited about with the WeMo is that it's fully integrated with IFTTT. So you can hook up your motion detector and make [unk] this if the motion detector is triggered then get a tweet or You send a text. Or you can have that-- the WeMo switch. It's something happens online and someone tweet something or if you send a text to IFTTT, it'll turn your lights on. And this all might sound a little gimmicky and not all that useful. But, if you use your imagination there are some really cool practically uses for this. Let say that you want to have a notification on your cellphone when your kids get home. You can have the motion detector trigger a text that comes to you while you're at work. My one problem with the WeMo app is that it only shows you the rules that you make in the WeMo app. It doesn't Show you the recipes you make on IFTTT. And IFTTT won't show you the rules you make on the WeMo app. This mean, if you use both the WeMo's rules and IFTTT's recipes, which I think most users are going to, you never gonna have all your rules and recipes in one place and you'll have to use 2 apps to use your devices. When use for the motion detector that I really like is that you can set it up in the morning-- sorry about that. You can set it up so that in the morning, your lights come out when you wake up just by waving your arm. So my alarm clock goes off in the morning, I wanna get up but I'm really bad getting out of bed, so I just put my arm in the air, lights come and I've an easier time getting out of the bed. If you could think of a use for the WeMo that justifies owning it, the price is right. I say, go for it. If you can't and you think it sounds a little gimmicky, don't rule it out just yet. I recommend you go to www.ifttt.com and try IFTTT out. IFTTT is free. You can try out all the integration with your social networks and if you find recipes that you like or you enjoy thinking them up and experimenting and find cool uses for IFTTT, the chances are very good that you will really like this product. For CNET, I'm Ryan Crist.