Today Belkin is launching its Wemo home automation system. Instead of using a proprietary or industry standard communication protocol like Z-Wave or ZigBee, Belkin opted for Wi-Fi with the aim to simplify the setup and control of its modular home automation products. Beginning in March, Wemo will launch in the US with a $49.99 Home Control Switch and $59.99 Motion Sensor module in addition to a free mobile app for an unspecified platform(s).
The Home Control Switch is a smart plug that sits between the wall socket and plug from any electric device, providing a programmable on / off switch that can be controlled by a smartphone or triggered by the company's Motion Sensor. For example, the pair could be used in combination to activate a floor lamp or fan whenever you enter a room. Later Belkin plans to extend the lineup with a garage door opener, door lock, lighting controls, and a baby monitor. While Wi-Fi will be great for streaming baby in HD, it's bandwidth overkill for light switches and less robust than a ZigBee or Z-Wave mesh. And really, who wants a Wi-Fi lock or garage door given all the concerns with Wi-Fi security?
Update: Kwikset is Belkin's confirmed partner to deliver Wemo door locks.