Wi-Fi controlled power outlet makes home automation easy

Steven Sande of The Unoffical Apple Weblog reviewed the Belkin WeMo Home Automation Switch and says it works well with If This Then That (IFTTT.com).

NewImageIf you've never used IFTTT before, give it a try. There are currently 50 "channels" on IFTTT, with everything from Twitter and Facebook to ESPN and weather. You create "recipes" that perform a certain action if a specific trigger is met. For example, I use a recipe that tweets the URL of every post that I write on TUAW from my Twitter account.

What does this have to do with WeMo? Well, there are IFTTT channels for the WeMo motion detector and switch. This opens up all sorts of possibilities. Say you want to receive a text message whenever your cat uses the litter pan. You set up a motion detector next to the litter pan, and every time el gato feels the need to go, you get tweeted.

There are even wilder things you can set up. Plug a fan into a WeMo switch, then set up an IFTTT recipe to turn the fan on if the local outside temperature goes above 85° F (I tried this -- it works). Have IFTTT call you whenever someone enters the house (it works). And if you want to shut that fan off, you can either write another recipe or just use the WeMo app to shut it off remotely.

Read Sande's complete review: Belkin's WeMo: iPhone-based home automation with a taste of IFTTT



  1. Get the price down to $5 and free it from the Apple walled garden and they’ll really be on to something. It amazes me how little home automation has progressed since X10 in the 70s. The only advances seem to be with expensive highly proprietary systems so nothing has ever caught on. Heck, if they could make a wall outlet version, I’d pay $10 an outlet.

    1. Doing wall plates like this with powerline networking to keep them connected seems like it’d be a no-brainer product.  Cross that with those power outlets that have the non-vampiric tap USB sockets, make each power outlet addressable individually and maybe even put in some way to read the power draw like a Kill-A-Watt and you’d have a killer (albeit likely expensive) product on your hands.

  2. Tell Wemo that he could be just like something out of a Ray Bradbury story and I’m sure he’d cheer right up.

  3. I’ve begun dropping money on these, and while I haven’t been getting terribly imaginative with my setup (“turn on this light when there’s motion at the front door” is about as wacky as I’ve got so far, and that’s in the manual) I will say that I like it a lot. It still needs a little smoothing – frex, if you’re out of the home network, it doesn’t see every device on the network – but it’s pretty good, and does exactly what I got it for.

    I’ve been trying to hack on the motion sensor (ending in an 1/8″ stereo plug) to try using other sensors, but my skills are not so impressive so I haven’t had any results as yet.

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