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May 2012
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July 2012

WeMo - Remote control over the web

Belkin, most known for their reliable line of USB hubs and the ilk, has announced WeMo, a line of Wi-Fi-based remote controllers for household devices. So far, there's a with and a motion detector-based switch. Interestingly, both are being promoted as usable with both lamps and small appliances, so I assume that dimming is not supported. (Dimming a coffee pot is a very dangerous idea.) The press release has more information, and they're available now from Amazon.

An iOS app lets you control WeMo devices from anywhere you have an Internet connection. If you already have a home automation system, you don't need these, as they'd become islands that are unreachable except using the WeMo software. But if you haven't yet tried out home automation, or if you don't want to hassle with making your whole system available via the Internet, these could be a very nice single-point solution.

A smart light bulb

Home automation requires a lot of stuff. There's just no way around it. You need all sorts of little doodads, such a controllers, remotes, modules, and so on. Smarthome has just introduced a new product that, in a way, reduces the amount of HA-related clutter. It's a lightbulb with a built-in control module. Just replace your current bulbs and you can control this one using INSTEON. It's an LED, and has a two year warranty, so it's not a bad deal overall. Read about it here.

It only started shipping today, so I haven't tried it, but do keep in mind that you'll still have to leave a lamp switched on in order to control the light. If the switch is off, there will be no talking to the smart bulb.