During the holidays, Amazon had a sale on Wemo Smart Plugs for $19.99 so I decided to buy a few of them. They are still on sale for $23 on Amazon but the price seems to fluctuate frequently like the stock market so keep your eyes open for a lower price.
But I digress.
First off, in case you don’t know what these things are, it’s a WiFi connected AC plug that controls the power to anything that you plug into it. It sounds very simple, but it’s very useful. Basically, this is the definition of home automation.
The reason I picked this particular smart plug is because it doesn’t block my outlets and is also compatible to Alexa. There’s nothing cooler than telling your light to turn on and is a lot more satisfying than clapping your hands. It’s the closest thing to feeling like you are in a Sci-Fi movie.
To get started, download the Wemo app then simply follow the instructions. The first time you do this, you may have to update the firmware inside the Wemo (see left screen image below). It will do the updating in the background so you can close the app and go back to doing something else.
Once you are done with that, you will see a list of all the Wemo plugs you have in the main screen (middle below). You can also setup your own “Rules” (see right below) that allows you to tell the Wemo to turn on and off at specific times. Here, my rules tell my electric blanket to turn on every night and also to turn off automatically so I don’t get too hot.
You can use it to turn on your lights when you are not home to make burglars think you are home or turn on your outside lights on at night. Frankly, I don’t know how I lived without this before.
You can get cheaper ones online but I think Wemo from Belkin is the best one on the market. I have not had any problems with it and I plan on getting more.
Since I originally wrote this article, I’ve had trouble updating the firmware. Everytime I try, it seems to be doing it but it shows that the attempt failed. Maybe it’s not ready for prime time as I thought.