Another recent acquisition was the WeMo switch from Belkin. In essence this switch allows you to turn on or off anything plugged into it from anywhere in the world.
There is a free app available for Google or Apple devices on which you can set up various timebased rules to switch the device on or off. There is of course an override switch on the device itself, so that if you really feel the need to get up and turn it off manually then you can do that as well…
After that, you're only limited by your imagination as to what you can use it for. Your limitation is that it must be something that needs to be plugged in!
So the main thing I use it for is just a turn on a lamp in the living room so that there is a light on when everybody gets up. Then it turns off again at a predefined time later. Similarly there are some rules for the evening, but this is where the other side of WeMo really starts to shine.
A service I use a lot, (and perhaps should write a blog piece on as well!), is IFTTT. IFTTT is short for "If This Then That", and is a brilliant web service for pretty much anything! I really would encourage you to go take a look at the site. IFTTT offers various channels that mean that if something happens then you make it go off and do another action. So you can create rules that are purely timebased that mimic the rules built into the WeMo app, or the one that is of greatest relevance to the lamp; is that at sunset I can get IFTTT to turn it on. So bearing in mind that sunset changes everyday, here is a task that simply make sure that my lamp comes on whenever it starts going dark!
Another IFTTT task I played with for a while was whenever the local weather forecast indicated rain I got the lamp to turn on. However because I live in Britain that just meant the light was on all the time!
And of course using the WeMo app, you can turn the light on or off whenever you want remotely. So for instance I have a night out, and I want to wind the family up, I can turn the lamp off from the pub down the road, or indeed from the other side of the planet. Of course there are some sensible uses for being able to remotely turn the lamp on and off as well!
The example here is of course turning lights on and off, but I return the original point which was that as long as a device can be plugged in to an electrical socket, then you can use a WeMo switch to control it. And with the power of the IFTTT service, you will be able to turn it on and off depending on all kinds of other actions happening.
Belkin also have a motion sensor variant of the product, which in itself can be another activation channel on IFTTT. Recently launched in the US, and hopefully come to the UK soon was a plain light switch, as in the kind used to turn on a light at the wall. I'm looking forward to this come into the UK, because if I connect this to my current setup I can of course turn on the outside light at dusk as well.
Another amazing gadget!