Wemo Switch and IFTTT


2015/04/12

I bought this Wemo Switch to replace a clunky mechanical light switch timer we've had for years. The mechanical timer still works, but setting it is inconvenient. Being able to control a light remotely is obviously better, whether we are on vacation or just running late and getting home after dark.

I had read the reviews at Amazon and was somewhat hesitant because some buyers were very unhappy. However, a more happy reviewer suggested that at least some of the negative reviews were because of technologically challenged people who couldn't comprehend the setup instructions. That may well be: I can think of many friends who would never be able to get this working. It's actually not hard - you download a smart phone app and then connect to a temporary wireless network the device provides. That lets you set the device to the real network you want it to use. Once that's done, it can be controlled from anywhere that you have wireless or cell phone access.

The app allows you to set rules. For example, you supposedly can set it to turn on at or around sunset and then shut off later. I tried that and apparently it is very confused about where I am. It did not turn on at sunset, but I did find it on when I got up at 4:00 AM this morning.

You can also control these through If This, Then That. I did activate my device there and noted again that few of my friends would have figured that out either. In the end, I decided it would be better to just control it manually, using the app to turn the switch on and off when I need to.

Security

The design is that only your mobile device can control the switch. However, that's not necessarily so: see Many connected-home devices lack robust security features, security firm claims. If you are thinking about something like this, you might be well advised to put it on a separate wireless network (many routers now offer a "guest" network that could be used).

The security implications go beyond someone annoying you by controlling the device. A thief might be able to read on/off schedules and learn when you are home. As these devices become more sophisticated, they might even be able to be perverted to give access to your entire network - sniffing traffic or even controlling your computers. Manufacturers have called such concerns "far fetched", but don't deny that they do need to stay on top of security issues.

A small thought in that regard: if they can screw up getting the proper sunset time for my zip code, how much can we trust their security?

Belkin WeMo Switch, Control Your Electronics From Anywhere

Tony Lawrence 2015/04/12 Rating: 3.5



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