Wemo Bridge adds Apple HomeKit to Belkin's line of smarthome accessories

Posted:
in iPhone
At the Las Vegas Consumer Electronics Show Belkin made good on years of promises and launched the Wemo Bridge, which lets other Wemo smarthome accessories link with Apple's HomeKit.




The Bridge connects to a Wi-Fi router through an Ethernet cable, and pairs with the Wemo Dimmer, Mini, Light Switch, Insight, and Motion Sensor. HomeKit compatibility means that those accessories can be controlled through Siri or the iOS and watchOS Home apps, and put into scenes and automations with third-party accessories.

Belkin announced plans to support HomeKit years ago, but in March 2016 the company put those plans on hold, admitting it would need new hardware. The Bridge was revealed in May 2017 -- originally with a fall release date.

Such intermediate technology is relatively commonplace for HomeKit, since the platform previously required hardware authentication, and many devices were unable to handle the tough encryption demands on their own. Last year however Apple loosened some of its restrictions, most notably allowing software authentication.

The Bridge is now available through a number of retailers at a cost of $39.99.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 6
    mike1mike1 Posts: 1,532member
    Finally. Just ordered one.
  • Reply 2 of 6
    eyekeyeyekey Posts: 16member
    As long as the do not patch their KRACK vulnerability, I will not buy any more Wemo stuff. Even if I am tempted.
  • Reply 3 of 6
    macguimacgui Posts: 649member
    I was never able to get two Wemo light switches to work, and their support people were just script readers, so the switches went back. They were very cheaply made, so it was no real loss.

    I went on to use Hue lighting instead, though it's drawback is the lack of high output bulbs. They're best suited to accent lighting (to be fair that's how their marketed) as opposed to brilliant illumination.

    About bridges, while I understand their role, I don't understand something about their function. Do they use RF to transmit and receive commands, or is that the purview of the WiFi network. Does the location of the bridge matter in the manner of the location of the router (centrally located, high as possible, etc) as long as the ethernet cord reaches, obviously.

    I'd prefer to keep the Hue (and any other bridge I may acquire) out of sight but handy. Yet all the marketing material I've seen for any manufacturer's bridge always shows them wall-mounted. Is it's location a consideration as long as the cord reaches the router?
  • Reply 4 of 6
    macguimacgui Posts: 649member
    I'll add that I've tried getting that information from various manufacturers but couldn't get past first tier script-readers and gave up.
  • Reply 5 of 6
    I’ve actually found the Wemo switches to be fairly reliable. My main complaint has been the lack of HomeKit integration, despite specific assurances from Belkin support prior to my first purchases of the things a couple of years ago. 

    To me, wired-in switches make much more sense than ‘smart’ bulbs. The bulbs’ utility fails the moment someone absent-mindedly hits the switch and cuts power to the bulb. 

    Some other manufacturers also now sell HomeKit enabled wall switches, but I’d already invested in and installed several of the Wemo devices. Then they strung everyone along with promises made, rescinded and made again about HomeKit support. So, finally they seem to be coming through with it. Let’s hope the new bridge doesn’t turn out to be a piece of crap. 
  • Reply 6 of 6
    Roger, have you actually seen one in real life yet? When the thing was originally announced I wondered if the cord shown in the promo picture is just a short ethernet cable with plugs on both ends or if it is a "pigtail" hard-wired to the device. If the latter, it puts some serious restrictions on placement.

    I'm also curious about how it's powered. The image seems to suggest a USB power supply, meaning either having to accommodate yet another power brick somewhere on the shelf with all the others, or a wall-wart hogging two spaces on the power bar. First-world problems to be sure, but a pet peeve none the less.
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