WeMo is the brand that Belkin has created for a series of products that aim to aid in the automation of a home’s electrical appliances and lighting. This automation occurs through a series of switches that can communicate with your home network, into which an electrical appliance can be plugged in, allowing them to be controlled by a simple mobile app.
Using a WeMo switch, a plugged in appliance can be switched on and off, set on a timer, or it can even give a read-out of its electrical consumption and running cost (using the WeMo Insight switch). Furthermore, WeMo can allow those appliances to be controlled through the Internet, meaning you can monitor the state of your appliances remotely.
But for some applications, a typical WeMo switch isn’t the solution. Belkin can’t make a switch for everything, but instead has come up with a product that hobbyists and DIY customers with electrical wiring knowledge can use to create their own home automation projects. It’s called WeMo Maker, and it’s a low-power relay switch that can be used to bring all manner of things online.
It’s a product that’s available to buy now for $150 from many of Belkin’s traditional partners, and will soon become available in DIY havens, too. The product’s aim is to provide DIY users with a way to trigger motors, set off timers, and generally give Wi-Fi network access to any electrical device with a voltage no higher than 24V DC/AC, 1A.
Scenarios in which the WeMo Maker can be used range from triggering motors for door locks, to allowing for the remote control of automated sprinkler systems. The app allows for a switch to be a toggle, or momentary. In addition, Belkin claims that 5V sensors can be added to the WeMo Maker to allow it to react to light, motion, temperature, flame, and carbon monoxide, thereby enhancing its functions for lighting and security tasks.
Senior product marketing manager international for WeMo, Andrea Bruno, explained that the Maker unit will give the company a good idea as to what sort of devices its users want to control. Bruno said that with the WeMo Maker “we are asking them [users] if you have the possibility to make whatever you like, what would you make?”. He said that the WeMo Maker provides “fantastic market research opportunities” that could influence the company’s roadmap.
The WeMo Maker itself can be powered by a 5V supply via microUSB. It can run on a typical 802.11n Wi-Fi network in the 2.4GHz band, and it supports up to WPA2 encryption. Once on the network, it can be controlled from a mobile app via a smartphone or tablet, and even be included in IFTTT recipes for further automation over the Internet. The WeMo mobile app and the IFTTT support mean that the product can be used by anyone with electrical knowledge, but without coding knowledge.