Belkin is expanding its line of WeMo home automation products with smart LED bulbs, an automated crockpot, and a Maker kit for WeMo-izing your own devices.
What is it about home automation gizmos that inspires vendors to get so cute with their product names? Before there was the WigWag, the Piper, or the Ninja Blocks, there was Belkin’s WeMo.
Like all these controller platforms, Belkin’s WeMo home automation family features Linux-based embedded software and a low-cost, expandable ecosystem of products that provide smartphone access to various wireless-enabled gizmos around the home.
Belkin has focused primarily on WiFi-equipped light switches for WeMo, but also offers a baby monitor and a motion detector. At CES, the company showed off four more WeMo gizmos, which are set to ship in the spring. These include the WeMo LED Lighting Starter Set, WeMo Smart LED Bulbs, the Crock-Pot Smart Slow Cooker, and the DIY-oriented WeMo Maker Kit. As with the earlier WeMo products, the new devices can be controlled via an Android of iOS mobile device.
WeMo Maker Kit
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The WeMo Maker Kit enables more technical users to add WeMo Internet connectivity to any device controlled with a DC switch, including research robots, motors, sprinkler systems, antennas, and other devices. The kit is built around a small WeMo Maker module that wires into low voltage devices, and lets users monitor and manage a wide range of 5V DC sensors via the regular mobile WeMo app.
Once users have WiFi-enabled a device with the kit, they can create schedules or automatically control the WeMo Maker with sensor inputs. Applications include deactivating a sprinkler system if moisture is detected, or “opening the blinds at sunrise from Monday to Friday,” says Belkin. WeMo Maker is also compatible with the IFTTT, protocol, which enables the creation of specialized scripts called recipes, designed for Internet of Things interactions. This open source the automation protocol can link compatible connected devices such as the Philips Hue with various social networking sites and other web resources.
Belkin had no more details on the Maker Kit at this point, but we look forward to learning more in the coming months. Make Magazine, meanwhile, posted a video tour of the device.
Smart LED Bulbs and a Crock-Pot
The new $130 LED Lighting Starter Set lets users control, schedule, and dim the $40 Smart LED Bulbs remotely via WiFi. The Starter Set includes two LED Smart Bulbs and a WeMo Link, which can support up to 50 individual Smart bulbs.
As with other WeMo products, the bulbs include WiFi and can be controlled via a mobile WeMo app. The dimmable LED bulbs are said to be equivalent to 60 Watt bulbs, and feature 800 Lumens and 3000 Kelvin warm-white lighting properties. The bulbs can be controlled individually or in groups, and can last for up to 23 years, says the company.
LED Smart Bulb Starter set; Crock-Pot Smart Slow Cooker
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The WeMo-enabled, $100 Crock-Pot Smart Slow Cooker is billed as the first smartphone controllable slow cooker. This collaboration with Jarden Consumer Solutions lets budding Nathan Myrhvolds use the WeMo app to slow cook remotely. You can to adjust the cooker’s settings remotely, view reminders, change the cooking time, adjust the temperature, or check status.
Belkin and Jarden Consumer Solutions also showed off some WeMo-enabled versions of Jarden appliances like the Mr. Coffee Smart Coffee Maker, the Holmes Smart Console Heater, the Holmes Smart Console Humidifier, and the Holmes Smart Air Purifier. These appear to be for demonstration purposes for now, but at least some of them may end up as commercial products.
Finally, Belkin has revised its Android and iOS app with “improved functionality and enhanced lighting features.” These are said to include a customizable long press gesture for the WeMo Light Switch, more flexible sunrise/sunset time selection rules, a countdown timer, and a simulated occupancy or vacation-mode setting.
“Since first launching at the 2012 International CES, WeMo has become a major player in the connected home thanks to its simple, scalable, and affordable nature — words not typically associated with the connected home,” stated Ohad Zeira, director of product management for WeMo.
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Also at CES, Belkin’s Linksys division announced an updated version of the hackable Linksys WRT54G router called the WRT1900AC. Running on a dual-core processor, the router provides dual-band 802.11ac WiFi, and ships with open source Linux code.
The WeMo LED Lighting Starter Set ($130), WeMo Smart LED Bulbs ($40), Crock-Pot WeMo Slow Cooker ($100) and WeMo Maker Kit (pricing unavailable) will be available in spring 2014. The updated WeMo app will launch in February for both Android and iOS. More information may be found at the WeMo announcement page, and more on other WeMo products may be found on the WeMo product page.