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Belkin significantly expands its WeMo connected-home product line at CES 2015

Michael Brown | Jan. 5, 2015
The whiz-bang WeMo Water with Echo Technology is easily the most interesting, but it's just one of seven all-new devices.

The sensors can also trigger a series of customized events, and it has an integrated button that can activate another WeMo device.

Belkin also suggests using it to keep track of pets, but without knowing the keyfob's range, I can't say how effective that will be. I would venture to guess, however, that pet sensors with GPS chips would be more effective in this role.

Alarm sensor
Tired of paying monthly fees for your monitored alarm system? If you're out of contract and have already paid for the equipment, Belkin's WeMo Alarm Sensor could allow you to take it offline.

If you consider that tack, however, remember that the best alarm systems use GSM technology for backup. Burglars know they can cut your phone line to take some alarm systems down, and if they do that, Belkin's alerts won't be able to reach you. Control panels with celluar backup can send alerts even without a phone line, and they typically have a battery backup so they can continue to operate during a power failure, too. 

Belkin's WeMo Alarm Sensor listens to the noises in your home and generates an alert when it hears your burglar, smoke, carbon-monoxide, or glass-break detector sound off. Create a list of emergency contacts in the WeMo app on your smartphone so you can ask a neighbor or family member to investigate if you're away from home. I presume you could also add the number of your local emergency responders to that list.

If you can integrate this sensor with the rest of your WeMo connected-home system, so that you can have lights come on in the event of a fire, this could be a better solution than the Leeo Smart Alert Nightlight that launched late last year.

Motion sensor
Belkin already has a motion sensor in its lineup, but it's limited by the fact that it depends on AC power (and the length of its power cord).

The WeMo Room Motion Sensor is a battery-operated infrared model that detects heat signatures. This should render it much less susceptible to being triggered by pets inside the home, and it has much better range: 30 feet with a 90-degree field of view. It can be set up to trigger other WeMo devices, including the WeMo Light Switch.

Wi-Fi-to-ZigBee bridge
Wi-Fi technology is ubiquitous, but it's too power-hungry to be used for battery-powered devices. So Belkin has turned to ZigBee chipsets for its various new sensors. But instead of deploying an entire ZigBee hub, they've built a Wi-Fi-to-ZigBee Bridge that can relay messages from its sensors to your Wi-Fi router.

WeMo Power with Echo Technology
Belkin didn't include this last item in its press release, but it was part of a PowerPoint presentation sent in the same press kit. This sensor mounts inside your circuit-breaker box and analyzes electrical signatures emanating from the main power lines entering your home. It sounds very much like the Smappee product that's already available.


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