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Hands On - more

As an example of motion-based scheduling, I created a rule to enable the sensor from sunset to 11:30 PM every day. If motion is detected, then the WeMo switch (Italian Lamp) turns on and stays on for an hour. If no motion is detected within the hour, the light will go out. If motion is detected, the hour timer is restarted.

I created a second rule for a night mode schedule that enables the sensor from 11:31 PM to sunrise, and sets it to turn on the WeMo switch for only 5 minutes when motion is detected. This would provide temporary lighting for the occasions that someone would walk through the room in the late evening. The screen below shows the rule summary for the first example.

Belkin Wemo Motion Rule rule summary

Belkin Wemo Motion Rule rule summary

As with any rule, you can enable, disable or edit rules. Should you create multiple rules with time or device overlaps, WeMo is smart enough to catch the error, identify to conflicting rule, and not let you save the new rule until you have eliminated the conflict.

GET NOTIFIED - With Motion

If you want to be notified when motion is detected, but don't want to turn anything on or off, the Get Notified with motion is the menu that you'll use. As with all scheduled rules, you can specify when the rule should run and on which days of the week. You can customize the message that gets sent as well as how often you should be notified. The last feature is very useful - especially in areas when the motion sensor is likely to be triggered frequently.

Notifications are done through the application as well as logged within the rule. The composite screenshot below shows you the "How Often" options (12 hours and once per day / interval wouldn't fit on the screen) (l), the motion notify rule summary, (c) and the log file (r), which is shown at the bottom of the rule. Notification is via the WeMo app only; no email or text alerts.

Belkin Wemo Get Notified With Motion screens

Belkin Wemo Get Notified With Motion screens


Some WeMo products support IFTTT (If This Then That). IFTTT, recently re-branded "IF", allows you to set up simple rules or "recipes" as they are called on IFTTT's web site. A recipe determines what action will be taken when a specific trigger occurs.

In order to use IFTTT, you need to create an account. Don't worry, it's free. From within the WeMo app's "More" menu, there's an option to "Connect to IFTTT". When you click on that menu, you generate a registration key that's valid for only 30 minutes. Within 30 minutes, you can register your WeMo device with IFTTT. Thereafter, your WeMo device is connected to IFTTT.

Both the WeMo Switch and the Motion Sensor are supported "triggers" that can be used with IFTTT. Other currently supported WeMo triggers include WeMo Insight Switch, WeMo Maker, and WeMo Light switch. Belkin has promised IFTTT support for the SMART LED bulbs soon.

IFTTT lets you create conditional rules based on very simple logic "If trigger, then action:" The easiest way to get a jumpstart with IFTTT is to use recipes that other people have published. Once you've linked devices to your IFTTT account, you can modify other published recipes or create your own. Just click on Browse and enter WeMo Switch or WeMo Motion into the search bar and you'll find several dozen recipes for each device already created. Here's a composite screenshot of some of the recipes available for each device.

IFTTT Published Recipes for WeMo Motion Sensor and WeMo Switch

IFTTT Published Recipes for WeMo Motion Sensor and WeMo Switch

As you can see from the sampling of published recipes above, people have gotten pretty creative. Several people have created recipes either for the Motion Sensor or the WeMo Switch to activate their Philips Hue lights. I liked the recipes that would save motion history either to Dropbox or to a spreadsheet on my Google drive.

In the previous section, I noted how the WeMo app supports only in-app notifications. IFTTT solved that problem. I created several different rules to text me if my WeMo Switch were turned on off. To test the rule, I just walked past the motion sensor while the rule was running. When the light turn on, I received a text message within about 7 seconds. Similarly, when the rule shut off the light, I got another text message - also within about 7 seconds.

Closing Thoughts

About a year ago, I reviewed my first Belkin WeMo product - The WeMo Insight Switch. The Insight switch is a "smarter" version of the switch in this review since it can provide information about how much power is flowing through the device. At the time of the review, the WeMo platform was fairly new and I experienced lots of problems - especially with the Android version of the WeMo software.

Fast forward to February 2015 when I reviewed the Belkin WeMo Lighting Starter Kit as part of a Smart Home LED roundup. My WeMo experience was very positive. I didn't experience any issues with the WeMo app (on either iOS or Android) and the WeMo back end seemed significantly improved. So the platform has matured and improved.

The WeMo Switch and Motion Sensor seamlessly integrated into my existing WeMo environment that consisted of the Link Hub and two light bulbs from the starter kit. Both the sensor and the switch worked flawlessly and I was able to create, edit and execute rules on my iPad and multiple Android devices. The support for IFTTT on both the switch and the motion sensor is a big plus, as it fills in gaps in notification and logging functions in the native WeMo app. Most importantly, my wife likes the WeMo Switch and Motion Sensor, so it has earned a place in our living room.

Ed Note: The WeMo Switch + Motion is being phased out as stock is exhausted, with the motion sensing part of the kit replaced by the new Room Sensor that doesn't have a ship date or price yet.

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