MEGATech Reviews – Belkin WeMo Insight Switch Michael Kwan February 18, 2014 MEGATech Reviews We have smartphones, smart cameras, smartwatches and smart TVs, so it only makes sense that we want to extend that level of intelligence to the rest of our homes. We had previously looked at some other offerings from the WeMo line of home automation products and now we’re about to get even smarter with the Belkin WeMo Insight Switch. Just how insightful is it? Let’s have a look. A More Compact Design The core functionality of the WeMo Insight Switch from Belkin remains largely unchanged from the regular WeMo Switch that we reviewed earlier this month. The setup process is exactly the same — connecting to the unique WeMo Wi-Fi network via the mobile app and running through the paces — and you can still use the WeMo Insight Switch to remotely turn your lights on and off or bake in that automation with some rules or IFTTT recipes. There are two very notable differences that make the Insight Switch a little more special though. First, Belkin has worked to make the Insight Switch smaller than its less insightful cousin. It still has roughly the same amount of depth, but it is only about half as tall. They’ve also replaced the standard button with a touch-based one hidden behind a piece of translucent black plastic. This is good, but the Insight Switch is still a little too bulky, easily blocking the power outlet directly above it or, in the case of a power strip or surge protector, to either side of it. More Than Just a Switch The physical design change is what you’ll see first, but it’s not the most important difference. It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that the “Insight” part of the name indicates that you’ll get a little more informatin out of this home autonomation product. What you get is “insight” into the power consumption recorded through the WeMo Insight Switch. And this is done through the mobile app. Monitoring and Notification Rules When you load up the mobile app on your chosen iOS or Android device, you can get quick at-a-glance information about whether or not the Insight Switch is currently turned on or off (like every other item you may have in your WeMo ecosystem), but you can also tap on the little arrow to bring up another table of data. I found that the app could be a little finicky at times, not bringing up the table at will. It might take a few taps due to all sorts of unexpected lag. Once it is open, though, you can very quickly see how long the Insight Switch has been on (if it’s currently on), how long it’s been on in total today, and how long it stays on in an average day. This then translates into your estimated monthly cost. This is a great way to keep tabs on how much power your computer is using, for example, or whatever else you may have connected to this WeMo device. One scenario that we saw during CES was having the WeMo Insight Switch connected to a fridge in the garage. You can see its consumption, but you can also use IFTTT recipes to notify you if there is a sudden spike in energy consumption, possibly indicating that someone accidentally left the fridge door open. This advanced functionality can be further extended with whatever IFTTT recipes you want, like shutting off power after the Insight Switch has been on for a certain amount of time MEGATechie Insightful or MEGATechie Switched Off? In theory, this seems like a rather brilliant idea. You can use the WeMo Insight Switch very simply to control your electronics via your smartphone or tablet, but you can also get a lot more complex with all that energy consumption data and IFTTT recipes. In practice, the system still needs further refinement. The app needs to be faster and more responsive, for instance, and it should be possible to have some of these energy consumption-related IFTTT recipes baked right into the core WeMo app as rules. I’d also like to see a further reduction in size, as not to block other power outlets. The Belkin WeMo Insight Switch sells for $59 each, which is about $10 more than the regular Switch. With the more compact design and added monitoring functionality, I’d say it’s worth the slight premium. Share This With The World!