Belkin, maker of the WeMo family of home automation products, has announced a substantial upgrade it its iOS and Android apps. Among the new features is the highly anticipated IFTTT long press gesture. First hinted at during CES 2014, this feature will allow users to set a long press as its own distinct IFTTT trigger. So, for instance, a simple press of a WeMo switch could trigger Phillips Hue lights in one room, while a long press (2 seconds or more) could trigger lights in another. This of course is just one example. What users ultimately come up with using this enhanced integration remains to be seen. Some other possibilities are discussed in the full press release, which you can read here.
Another feature included in the update is a simple away mode setting, also referred to as simulated occupancy. When activated, this mode will cause WeMo connected lights to turn on and off at random intervals making it appear like someone is home. This is a nice feature for users who travel a lot, or who travel for extended periods of time.
The updated app also offers increased flexibility in setting sunrise & sunset events, a feature referred to as sunrise / sunset offset. Many users have found that their homes actually get dark well before sunset. The updated app will allow these users to select a predetermined interval for their WeMo events, so for instance the lights will turn on an hour before sunset, or off an hour before sunrise. Lastly, WeMo has given users the option to dim the backlights that illuminate WeMo switches when the light is turned off. Cosmetic features like this one may sound subtle, but ultimately contribute to an enhanced user experience.
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To help promote this app update, Belkin has kindly offered offered to give away 3 of their WeMo Light Switches (valued at $49.99 a piece) to one lucky HomeTech.fm fan! To be entered in the drawing, simply tweet out a link to this story and mention us using the handle @HomeTechPodcast! The period for entry begins Thursday, 4/17/14 at 5:00 am EST, and ends Wednesday, 4/23/14 at 11:59 pm EST. No purchase necessary. Read the Legal Mumbo-Jumbo Here