Why You Need The WeMo LED Starter KitBy - 01/30/2015
Reading through home security tips you will often see the same suggestions over and over again. You will probably read things like pick up your mail, keep your doors locked, make your house look “lived in”, and keep your home well-lit. The last two seemingly basic tips are often easier said than done. I wanted to approach these last two safety tips with a smart home solution and in my quest I’ve been testing the WeMO LED Lighting Starter Kit.
What’s in the kit?
If you have ever wanted to help save polar bears, decrease your electricity bill and control your household lighting from your phone – WHEN YOU’RE NOT EVEN HOME then the WeMO LED Starter Kit is something you will definitely want to check out. The kit is one of the newest energy efficient lighting solutions on the market from tech company Belkin. It retails for $99.99 (because it’s never just $100) and comes with two WeMo smart LED bulbs, the WeMo Link, a quick installation guide, and of course access to their free app.
The WeMo smart LED bulbs are the magic wands in the kit if you will, they are what make the magic happen. Each of the bulbs uses just 10 watts of electricity but produces the amount of light comparable to that of a traditional 60 watt bulb – hello lower power bills! Oh, and yay for the polar bears too!
What about that WeMo Link that comes with the Starter Kit?
The link is what serves to connect (or link) your bulbs to the app that you control your bulbs with. For example, you may utilize your WeMo iPhone or Android app to turn on the lights, the Link receives this information via WiFi and sends this information to the bulbs via ZigBee. Wait…what? ZigBee? ZigBee is a common language for Smart Home devices. In this case it is how the Link talks to the bulbs wirelessly. The link also let’s you set up your LED lighting so that you can control each of your WeMo bulbs individually or (you can control up to fifty with the WeMo Link) you can create areas or “rooms” using the WeMo app so that you can control the lights in your home as you see fit. For example, if you have an extremely annoying roommate who likes to bring home the part at 3AM on the weekends, you can create a rule on the WeMo app to make sure their bedroom lights come on nice and early the next morning. Of course, you can also use your smart home power for good. For example, you might want to create a schedule to turn on different sets of lights each night to give your home that “lived in” look that is essential for basic home security.
The Software is the Behind the Scenes Power
The WeMo app has a few secret powers beyond the power of scheduling we just mentioned. Using the WeMo app you can not only schedule the lights in your home to come on every night before you get home from work so you aren’t returning to a dark home and the psychological haunting a of the horror movie you watched last night, but you can also use the app to turn off lights for you as well. Feeling lazy when you sit down to watch a movie and just can’t make it three feet to turn down the lights? WeMo can help! Yes you can turn the lights on and off but you can also use the app to dim. Going out of town and not sure you want your in-laws to know you went without them? Keep the garage closed and schedule WeMo to turn your lights on every night at dusk and turn them off again at your regular bedtime. It’s almost like having a cover story for just about everything. WeMo can be your wingman too if you set the auto-dim feature. Right now the starter kit only works with the WeMo app but Belkin is working on an IFTTT channel for the kit. As they already have exisiting IFTTT channels for their other products, I’m feeling pretty confident that this is more than just lip service.
The app works with iOS, Android or the Kindle operating system. If you have more than one of these devices you will find that you can run the App on multiple systems simultaneously.
The WeMo EcoSystem
The WeMo LED bulbs and Link are not the only available pieces of the WeMO System and once you have begun building your fortress of protection, you can expand your security measures with other available elements. Since the WeMo system is modular it is easy and affordable to add in the WeMo Switch, WeMo Light Switch, WeMo Motion and WeMo Insight Switch to expand the system’s home automation capabilities to include functions like motion detection.
What did we think of the kit?
Okay, the WeMo LED Starter Kit sounds pretty awesome but what about the competition? How does it compare to…say the Phillips Hue LUX LED? Phillips wins in that it has created a better app. Wemo wins in that it offers more lumens in their bulbs, higher efficiency from their bulbs (the polar bears particularly like this,) the highest dimmable range, the best color rendering index, comparable pricing and comparable bulb lifespan. Overall the WeMo system offers more for your money IF they could just get the software right. What we liked about the kit….
1. Easy Setup
3. The ability to turn lamps on/off with the app or manually.
3. That it works on WiFi which means you can still send commands when the internet is down.
You can get your very own starter kit on Amazon.