Belkin is continuing to make the dream of a connected smart home less of a nightmare to achieve by announcing two new additions to its WeMo lineup at CES 2017.
The first and most interesting addition is the WeMo Dimmer Switch, a much-needed update to the original WeMo Light Switch. Although WeMo’s smart lightbulbs are already dimmable, this is the company’s first central dimmer switch which will allow you to control your home’s lights without the need for a hub.
Usefully, the dimmer switch can be calibrated to work with any kind of lightbulb in order to avoid flickers or noise. This means you won’t have to go around your home changing every bulb to suit your new technology – the switch will work for you whether you’ve got LEDs, incandescents, or CFLs.
The switch will also have programmable brightness, allowing you to have different light levels for different times of day. Full brightness is great when you’re walking around the house wide awake, but if you’ve woken up in the middle of the night, something less blinding is usually preferable.
Another useful feature is ‘Away Mode’, which will cycle your lights on and off at different times of day to make it look like you’re home when you’re not.
Like the first generation WeMo Light Switch, these features can be triggered using customisable long presses. By pressing down the switch for a few seconds you could have the lights enter Away Mode, Night Mode, or turn off or on across your entire home. It’s up to you which function you choose.
The Dimmer Switch is expected to launch later this year in the US and Canada, but there’s no solid timeline on any international release. As far as price goes, there’s nothing confirmed just yet but Belkin isn’t known for straying too far outside the bounds of reasonable affordability.
The other new product, which is less innovative but still incredibly welcome, is a smaller version of WeMo’s Wi-Fi Smart Plug. In terms of function, this new switch isn’t much different from the original WeMo Smart Plug, allowing you to bring smart functions to your ordinary devices. Being smaller, however, the new plug is much less likely to block off access to other nearby sockets.
The Mini Smart Plug will be available in stores later this month in the US and Canada for $35 (around £30, AU$50)
Both products have the same iOS and Android companion app, as well as the same third party integration options, so you’ll be able to connect them to IFTTT, Nest, Google Home, and Amazon’s Alexa devices. Unfortunately, as Belkin is yet to add support, that leaves Apple HomeKit users disconnected for now.
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