Google Home and Amazon Echo are home automation giants because of the number of smart devices they can control. Apple is now following their example by steadily adding new devices to their compatibility list on an almost monthly basis. The latest devices with HomeKit compatibility include the WeMo connected accessories. Belkin planned to add HomeKit compatibility to their products in March last year. However, they had to cancel those plans, which disappointed many WeMo users.
At that time the company said that they could not add HomeKit compatibility because they could not update their products. They stated the only way to make WeMo accessories HomeKit compatible was by building an entirely separate line of products. It turns out that for you to integrate a device with HomeKit, you must add a specific hardware component. Integration cannot be done through software or firmware updates to already existing devices.
In a Facebook post, Belkin said they would have to add new chips to WeMo devices to make them HomeKit-enabled. Belkin was also concerned that if they developed new products, it would force users who already had their products to purchase all new WeMo products for them to enjoy HomeKit compatibility.
A Change of Heart
Recently, they changed their tune and recommitted to bringing HomeKit to WeMo without delay. They announced that they would accomplish this by adding the WeMo Bridge for HomeKit to WeMo accessories. This will then make the accessories compatible with HomeKit. WeMo users can then use the bridge to interact with Siri and set scenes that include other HomeKit-compatible smart devices.
According to Brian Van Harlingen, Chief Technology Officer at Belkin International, they decided to add HomeKit compatibility because of what they describe as, “overwhelming request from customers” to do so. Harlingen said they are proud to work with Apple and that the WeMo Bridge will allow future and current WeMo users to enjoy the benefits of HomeKit.
The WeMo Bridge works by connecting to your router over Ethernet and then uses Wi-Fi in your home to communicate with Apple products that run on Siri, like iPads, iPhones, and Apple Watches or Apple TVs. Before the Bridge, there were several WeMo products that you could control using an iPhone through a companion app. They included smart plugs, light switches, webcams, and light bulbs. WeMo’s Bridge compatible devices include the Insight Smart Plug, light switch, dimmer, and Mini Smart Plug.
Belkin WeMo products already feature compatibility with connected home solutions like Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Nest Thermostat, and apps like IFTTT. Adding the Bridge was a compromise Belkin knew they had to reach. But they may have sacrificed the compact nature of their products by adding a component that would only increase cluttering. WeMo will launch the bridge this fall, but they have not provided information about its pricing. For more details about home automation, visit our website today.