What is it?
WeMo is a series of products from Belkin International, a maker of networking gear and tech accessories, that lets users control their Belkin home automation products from anywhere via a smartphone. It’s not a wireless networking standard at all, instead it utilises standard Wi-Fi. This removes the need for a hub or controller. Devices send signals through a Wi-Fi router to each other, to the larger Wi-Fi local network and to the Internet as a whole. Belkin chose to use Wi-Fi because it didn’t want to confuse customers by introducing other technologies.
Since it works over Wi-Fi it is dependent on the star network configuration (rather than a mesh) with a central router handling the traffic among devices and controlling the network in general. Users simply install the WeMo app on their smart phone and can immediately interface directly to WeMo devices on their local Wi-Fi network.
There’s a range of products available, such as Smart LED Lighting, the WeMo Insight Switch for turning any plugged-in device on or off and monitoring your energy usage, and a NetCam. There’s also the WeMo Maker, designed for inventors and tinkerers, which makes it possible to control nearly any low-voltage electronics device using a smartphone or tablet.
Belkin has also partnered with others to WeMo-enable third party products. So far partners include lighting manufacturer OSRAM and Jarden Corporation, maker of Crock-Pot®, Mr. Coffee®.
It runs over Wi-Fi, so anyone with an Android or iOS smartphone and Wi-Fi router can use it, without the need for a hub or controller.
It’s a proprietary system, and although partnerships are developing with others for a range of WeMo-enabled devices, the current range of products are limited. Wi-Fi takes up a lot of battery life and processing power so it’s unlikely WeMo will appear in battery-operated and smaller smart home devices.