Control your office or home from your iPhone?

Situation

Imagine being able to control your office or home electronics via your iPhone.

Save money by turning on lights, air conditioning, space heaters, etc. from your iPhone while you are in transit so everything is comfortable when you arrive, no matter what variations you have in your schedule. Have you left your office or home or gone on a trip and don’t know if you shut off the air conditioner, iron, sprinkler system, radio/TV/stereo, or lights?

No problem -– use your iPhone with the WeMo switch and app to make sure everything is off from anywhere in the world!

What is it?

The Belkin WeMo Home Automation Switch for Apple iDevices: iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, is an inexpensive modular device that allows you to turn electronics on or off from anywhere there is a Wi-Fi or mobile Internet connection.

How it works

The WeMo operates over Wi-Fi and mobile Internet, at home or away, and is rated at 120 volts, 60 Hz, 15 amps, 1800 watts. With its large 1800 watt capacity, you can use this switching device for almost any application. The free WeMo app allows you to set schedules for appliances plugged into the device and you can use most iDevices to program anything that can be plugged in, to turn on or off at a certain time of day, or adjust remotely.

It works over your existing office or home Wi-Fi router. The WeMo switch itself works like a “sub-router,” meaning it has its own MAC address and takes its commands from your office or home router.

What you need

Besides the basic switch described above, you can purchase additional WeMo on/off switches or accessories such as a Dropcam HD Wi-Fi wireless video monitoring camera (about $149.00) or a Learning Thermostat by Nest for ($249.99).

There is also a WeMo motion kit which includes a motion sensor that allows you to use the WeMo app to program a hallway light to turn on when movement is detected.

How to get it

Information and purchase is available from Amazon, Apple Stores, and other electronic stores. List price is about $49.99 for a single switch, though you can get it for less by shopping around.

How hard is it to use?

Amazingly simple.

Take it out of the box, plug it into an outlet, download the free WeMo app from the App Store to your Wi-Fi or mobile connected iDevice, and follow a few simple, automatic steps to be up and running in less than 10 minutes.

I have it on my iPhone and iPad. As with any new technology, read and follow the instructions, and you should be fine.

Pros

Worked as advertised. Makes you think about other creative uses…

Cons

None so far.

Bottom-line

This is the beginning of a whole new generation of inexpensive and flexible office or home Internet controlled devices. You can see (via the optional Dropcam HD camera) what’s happening at a site and then turn on or shut off devices based upon what you observe (another project for my list). As you get more used to using it, you will think of more applications for this wireless remote switching system. Check out the reviews by other users on Amazon to learn of ingenious applications that others have discovered. Be creative and have fun!