We are living in a wonderful age of technology, an age where we can get our gadgets to do almost anything for us. Home automation is the next step in that, being able to use smartphones, tablets or pre-programmed conditions to tell any regular appliance when to be on or what to do. It’s like something out of Star Trek. With that in mind, we’ve taken a look at some of Belkin’s WeMo home automation accessories, all available on Techscheme with our incredible employee benefits.
WeMo Switch & Insight Switch
The big thing about the two WeMo Switch’s is that they provide an easy and inexpensive entry into the world of home automation. Testing them out won’t cost you too much money or time, in fact as far as home automation goes, the set-up time on the Switch twins is phenomenal. You’ll be up and running in minutes.
We’ll talk about the WeMo Switch itself first. On the outside, it’s just a plug that works with any standard (120v) wall outlet. You plug it in, follow the instructions on the free WeMo app to set it up and then you’re ready to plug in and control an appliance through it. From the comfort of your sofa, you can now flip a lamp on, or get the kettle boiling before you have to get up – remember to refill it afterward, though.
The app itself is really simple to use, essentially just a few well-labeled buttons that make sure you know exactly what you’re doing. The genius of WeMo is that you can use it with the automated tools offered by IFTTT (if this then that), which means you can set instructions for when things should happen automatically. You can get the coffee brewing 5 minutes before your alarm goes off, turn on the lamp at sunset or if you’ve prepared in advance – knock on a toastie maker when you’re on the way home.
The Insight Switch does all this too, but it also allows you to effectively monitor the energy usage of the device that’s plugged into it, with that information coming through to your app, to allow you to better understand and control your energy usage. It also looks a little slicker and less bulky. The Switch and Insight Switch are available on Techscheme with a saving of up to 12% on National Insurance Contributions.
Belkin doesn’t just do clever plugs, though, WeMo Lighting gives you control over your bulbs as well. The inconspicuously bulb-shaped lights come in screw and bayonet fittings, but they’re LED which makes them fully controllable, not just in terms of when you turn them on, but brightness as well: you can dim them to watch a film or as part of a pre-bedtime regime (or any other reason you might think of).
You’ll need to start with the appropriately named starter kit which comes with a plug-in Wi-Fi sensor that will allow you to control the bulbs through the free WeMo app. You’ll only need one of those, though, so any additional bulbs can be bought in packs of two. The set up is much the same as the WeMo Switch, spend a minute or two following instructions on the app and away you go.
Belkin’s WeMo products are all modular but work together, so you can control everything through one app, two if you’re using IFTTT functions – yes, they work for the lights too. You can create a schedule for your bulbs that they’ll regularly follow, and you’ll be able to control them from anywhere with an internet connection. Great for energy conservation or making it look like you’re home when off on holiday.
Obviously, you’re going to be looking at an outlay initially, the starter kit comes in at £70 with Techscheme savings, but the bulbs themselves should last up to 23 years (based on a usage of 3 hours per day). Once you’ve got the starter kit, and the sensor it comes with, the bulbs cost around £21 for two and you can control 50 bulbs at once through the app.
WeMo Insight Switch
|WeMO Lighting Starter Pack||£79.99||£9.60|
|WeMo Lighting Bulbs||£24.98||£3.00|
It’s hard to overstate how useful these products become once you’ve got into the habit of using them, not to mention how cool they are to show off to your mates. Given their low price point, and the additional savings you can make with Techscheme’s employee benefits, they are the perfect entry point into home automation. If you want to take advantage of our savings, then your employer needs to sign up to the scheme, it’s quick and easy and there are benefits for them as well, so ask them to take a look.