Belkin/WeMo is quickly making a name for itself in the Smart Home and “Internet of Things” market, thanks to having a solid and discerning eye toward adding useful smart devices with plenty of clever features into the connected ecosystem. At the 2017 International CES in Las Vegas, the company just announced it was expanding its award-winning brand of smart home products with two new smart switches, the WeMo Mini Smart Plug and Dimmer Light Switch.
The Mini Smart Plug
If you are new to the whole Smart Home tech thing, then a smart plug is a great way to get your feet wet with the so-called Internet of Things. Most of us have already used those plug-timer thingies, that allow you to set the on/off schedule (albeit simply) for an appliance. You plug a light or whatever into the device, which is itself connected to a wall socket. Using a dial, you would adjust the times for when the appliance is on and off. Smart plugs are the more intelligent and versatile cousins of those timers, allowing users to control almost any device remotely using an app on a smart phone or tablet.
Essentially, the WeMo Mini Smart plug lets you control any everyday household object, right from your phone, and even with voice commands. Now, this isn’t the first Belkin/WeMo Smart Plug, however the Mini is half the size of the previous WeMo Switch. The Mini is also more streamlined, with a stackable design that allows two plugs to be plugged into a single outlet, and all without losing any of the features of the original. The new plug also works with Amazon Echo and Google Home, so you can control plugged in devices and appliances using simple voice commands, and it is also compatible with Nest Learning Thermostat’s Home and Away Modes. It’s a really simple device to use, and doesn’t require an additional hub, just plug it into any 120v home wall outlet. Anything you plug into the Mini can then be controlled via the free WeMo app on your smartphone or tablet, via WiFi or mobile internet, at home or away.
The WeMo Dimmer
A 2017 Innovations Award Nominee, the new WeMo Dimmer finally brings “smart” to dimmer switches. You know how with some light bulbs, dimmer switches can often cause them to flicker or make weird high-pitched noises? The WeMo Dimmer offers custom bulb calibration through the WeMo app, so everything from incandescent to CFLs or LEDS can be annoyance-free and completely controllable. The new product also features a Dimmer’s Night Mode feature enabling users to set a specific level of brightness during a set period of time, such as middle-of-the-night bathroom trips or for checking on the kids when they are asleep.
The Dimmer also offers a touch-sensitive dimmer control, rather than the usual mechanical lever-type of action, plus a responsive light bar that uses movement, full RGB color and brightness as a language to provide contextual information. There is also a Night Mode, so you will get less bright (and less blinding!) lighting in the evening. No additional hub is required, and the WeMo Dimmer works with Amazon Echo and Google Home (yay for voice commands!) as well as Nest Thermostat.
More from Belkin/WeMo
While you’ll be able to find the newly announced WeMo Mini Smart plug in stores later this month, and the Dimmer sometime in the spring, Belkin/WeMo already offer a bunch of Smart Home products that are available at Best Buy. My personal favourite (just because I love cooking) is the Crock-Pot Wi-Fi WeMo Smart Slow Cooker. Using the free WeMo app, you can adjust cooking time, temperature, shift to warm, or turn off your culinary masterpiece, all from your smart device. It also has a really roomy 6-quart (5.7L) capacity, so you can throw together meals for the whole family or a large dinner party, and control it all from anywhere using your smart device. It’s definitely a Smart Home gadget for someone like me.
What about you? Are you excited about these new Belkin/WeMo Smart Home devices? Have you seen anything at the 2017 CES that has you salivating? Let me know what you’re thinking in the comment section below.