Using IFTTT With Belkin’s WeMo Devices

Thus far in our series on IFTTT, we’ve looked at a wide variety of home automation accessories that can be used with the web-based automation service, each of which provide a variety of different capabilities. Today we’re going to focus in a bit and take a closer look at one family of smart products, Belkin’s WeMo devices — one of the first, and most versatile, sets of home automation accessories to support IFTTT.

Belkin actually joined the IFTTT family long before platforms like Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s HomeKit came into existence, allowing for more advanced home automation routines and multi-vendor interoperability almost right from the start. Furthermore, unlike many of the other home accessories we’ve looked at, Belkin’s WeMo smart plugs and switches can be used as IFTTT triggers, meaning that they can easily initiate other actions in IFTTT, rather than just existing on the receiving end of home automation routines.

There’s actually a lot of power hidden in here — this not only allows for integration with other home automation accessories, but even lets you chain multiple WeMo accessories together, such as turning multiple lights on or off, making for useful rudimentary routines.

Turn on lights when motion is detected

A number of home automation vendors include their own motion sensors now, but Belkin’s WeMo Motion Sensor is one of the few supported by IFTTT. While the WeMo platform provides its own triggers for motion sensors, this only works with other WeMo devices, so IFTTT is particularly useful here if you’re using lights from other vendors such as Philips or Lutron.

The WeMo IFTTT service only provides two triggers — one for when any motion is detected, and another for when motion is detected after a quiet period of anywhere from 30 seconds to 60 minutes; the latter is useful to ensure that the lights don’t come back on when you’re simply leaving a room or passing through it again. Unfortunately, however, while these are useful for turning things on, there’s no way to have lights turn off after a period of no motion, such as when a room is vacant.

Control multiple lights from one WeMo Light Switch

In addition to simply turning on the connected light, WeMo’s Light Switch and Dimmer can both trigger IFTTT actions when you turn the switch on or off, meaning that you can easily control more than one light with a single press.

This can be used with other WeMo devices like Smart Plugs, or even to turn Philips Hue lights on or off, which may save you the trouble of installing a separate Hue Dimmer in some cases.

Turn on a space heater when it gets cold

Long before smart thermostats were a thing, one of the earliest home automations we used was to tie a Netatmo Weather Station to a space heater connected to a WeMo Smart Plug.

A second IFTTT applet can also be used to turn the space heater off once the room gets warm enough. Even in a world of Nest and Ecobee thermostats, routines like this can still be very useful for dealing with temperatures in specific rooms, or better yet, in apartments without in-unit temperature control.

Close the garage door from a WeMo Light Switch

WeMo’s Light Switch and Dimmer actually have another IFTTT trick up their sleeve — a long press can be used exclusively to trigger an IFTTT action, apart from controlling the connected light, so you can use it to perform entirely unrelated functions, like closing your garage door.

This can also be useful for turning out all of the lights in your house before you leave — simply create multiple IFTTT applets connected to the long press trigger, one for each light or set of lights.

Summary

If you’re looking for some basic home automation capabilities, WeMo and IFTTT provide a low-cost point of entry and a nice alternative to Amazon Alexa and Apple HomeKit. In part two, we’ll look at some of WeMo’s other home accessories and how they can be tied into IFTTT.

Jesse Hollington

Jesse Hollington

Jesse Hollington is based in Toronto, Canada, where he lives with his daughter, Victoria. He is the author of iPod & iTunes Portable Genius, and works as a senior editor for iLounge.com. Prior to becoming a writer, Jesse ran his own information technology consulting practice and served as an officer in the Royal Canadian Air Force Reserve.

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