The WeMo Switch isn’t cheap (£45 a pop) but it can do some pretty interesting things. While I’m happy it exists, I also wonder why it took so long to develop it and why (in the bigger picture of home automation) it’s still somewhat of a primitive item. This doesn’t mean I’m not happy with it, I just don’t know why exactly it took us so long to figure out remote access to appliances can be so useful.
It’s great that it can be used through ifttt – a service you should be paying to use, really – in a variety of ways. My home boiler and central heating system seems to have a timer, but like all boilers it comes with 15-minute interval limitations, only two intervals – made worse by the fact that my weekday schedule (gone all the time) is not the same as my weekend schedule (sometimes gone, sometimes just hiding in my study all day).
WeMo allows me to use a heater only where I need it – making the whole central heating a bit redundant during the week. The thing is, not only can you use WeMo like that, but you can even tie it to a foursquare event so that it turns it on when you check in to a certain location, e.g. when I check in at my local station it’ll warm up the room as I walk home.
The other option is to have it come on whenever the temperature outside reaches a certain level, but that’s not always very helpful – works for fans though.
The only shame is you can’t use it with something like Google Latitude – I’d much rather know that my radiator will stay on when I’m in a radius of a mile from home (e.g. if I’m out to the shop I can turn it off myself) and anywhere farther it’ll turn itself off. Maybe a feature for the future.