January 16, 2012
| by Lisa Montgomery
At CES this week Belkin unveiled two initial components of its new plug-and-play home automation system, WeMo. The WeMo Home Control Switch ($49.99) piggybacks between a device, like a lamp, and an electrical outlet. The WeMo Motion Sensor ($99.99) allows the switch to be triggered when motion is detected. As explained by a Belkin spokesperson, a homeowner could position the small sensor in a hallway, which could trigger on a light whenever someone stepped into its field of view.
Homeowners are able to schedule automation routines, set on and off times and monitor the devices remotely via a Wi-Fi network and a free smartphone app.
The Switch and Sensor will be available this summer at major retailers and online at Amazon.com and Belkin.com. The app will be available for download this summer as well. Other products will be rolled out throughout the year, including a remote garage door opener, door lock, lighting controls and a baby monitor.
WeMo might not have the sophistication of a professionally installed home automation system, but it offer homeowners a simple, affordable way to manage basic parts of their home and build a system gradually as their needs and budget demands.
Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.