Belkin Wemo versus Insight

Belkin is particularly successful with its power banks for wireless charging of smartphones. The American manufacturer is also involved in the smart home. The smart Belkin Wemo range is manageable, but the components can be connected to popular systems, including Netatmo, Amazon Alexa and Osram. Belkin Wemo is of little interest to Home Kit users because you have to invest in an extra bridge to link them.

Belkin Wemo: The idea of the PlugnPlay Smart Home

Belkin Wemo is the Smart home system from the American manufacturer Belkin. The basic idea of Belkin Wemo is to connect smart devices directly to the Wi-Fi router and make them controllable via app. Wemo is thus against the common trend to use a special smart home radio, which in turn makes a separate radio gateway necessary.

The Belkin smart home system therefore works very simply “plug'n'play”: The smart device is connected to the WLAN and can then be controlled via the app. With this simple principle, Belkin Wemo quickly reaches its limits, because the WLAN radio consumes a relatively large amount of energy. Battery-operated devices such as window and door sensors are therefore not yet found in the Wemo range.

In the future, Wemo will undoubtedly completely break up its "WLAN only" strategy and properly expand the system - the new Wemo LED bulbs already indicate that they do not communicate directly with the router, but rather via the "Wemo Link", a small one ZigBee gateway that is delivered with the lights.

Who is Belkin Wemo recommended for?

  • Smart home beginners who control electric devices via app and want to monitor their power consumption. Just think of washing machines, fans, Christmas lights or floor lamps.
  • People who are interested in simple video surveillance via app for the purpose of Burglary protection or baby monitoring.
  • Amazon Alexa users who want to control the Wemo components by voice.
  • For hobbyists who, thanks to the Wemo Maker, can smartly upgrade all household appliances.

The soul of the system: the home router

The connection of smart devices and the Wemo app is done by the Wi-Fi router already installed at home. The radio signal from the smartphone or tablet is sent to the router and from there to the smart home device. Only for the smart lighting Belkin Wemo requires the installation of the Wemo Link. The gateway is comparatively small and hangs inconspicuously on a socket outlet.

The brain of the system: the Wemo app

The Wemo app can be used to control the smart Belkin devices directly and - more importantly - automate them. All linked Belkin Wemo devices are clearly displayed in the Wemo app and can be interconnected using if-then functions. For example, if the lights come on automatically at sunset, the fan turns off.

The app is well designed, but only offers basic functions. If you want to get even more out of the system, install the IFTTT app. It connects to the Wemo app and allows it to access services such as Gmail, Facebook or Ebay.

Note: The Wemo baby monitor and the Wi-Fi camera each use their own app so that they cannot be linked to other Wemo Smart Home devices.

The Wemo app at a glance

  • Devices are listed with an individual name and photo.
  • Wemo Insight Switch shows the daily and monthly consumption of electricity.
  • A report of the power consumption can be sent by email on request.
  • A timer function triggers the automatic switching of the devices.
  • The absence mode simulates presence by randomly switching lights.
  • Notification rules can be set up that provide information on the status of the connected device. For example, if the Insight Switch is connected to a straightener, you can be informed if the device has been in operating mode for more than half an hour.

What Belkin Wemo can do

Belkin Wemo Switch

The Belkin Wemo Switch enables time-switched and app-based control of all types of power supply units. From the coffee machine to the hi-fi system to the chain of lights, connected devices can be automated or controlled directly via app. With the appropriate Wemo skill, voice control via Amazon Alexa is also possible.

The principle of the Wemo adapter plug is that the current flow between the socket and the household appliance is cut off. So, if you want the Washing machine switch on, this must already be preset. It can also be switched on and off manually without an app using a haptic button on the adapter.

Belkin Wemo Insight Switch

The Belkin Wemo Insight Switch is the expanded version of the Belkin Wemo Switch. Apart from a somewhat more compact format, the Wemo Insight Switch mainly differs in terms of its energy monitoring. The app shows the power consumption of the connected device and calculates the expected costs. Compared to the Wemo Switch, the power supply is switched on or off manually using a touch button.

Conclusion

It would have been too nice if Belkin Wemo could actually have provided us with a comprehensive smart home system that could be easily operated via the wireless router. Subsequent developments such as the Wemo Bridge or the Wemo Link show that WLAN was simply not born for home networking and that bridges have to be built time and again.

The Insight switch is switched off manually where the Wemo turns itself off automatically or using the app which not only saves you costs but also less risk of a fire. The Insight switch is cost effective as it calculates the amount of power you are using so will save you on your electricity bills, however the Wemo has less risk all around.