A new generation smart switch from Belkin

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A new generation smart switch from Belkin

While Belkin's new WeMo Insight Switch is designed for home use, we can see that it could be of value in small businesses.

The Insight Switch plugs in between a wall socket and a mains-powered device, and has three main capabilities:

Remote on/off control from a smartphone or tablet (iOS or Android), or according to a schedule;

Monitoring energy consumption and usage time;

IFTTT support, allowing integration (eg, recording on and off events in a Google spreadsheet) and automation (eg, send an alert via email if the device's monthly power costs exceeds a threshold).

As the Insight Switch costs $99.95, you'd need to save a fair amount of electricity to break even. It's about three times the price of a dumb metering adaptor, but the automation and remote control side has got to count for something. For example, you might switch on your shop's air conditioner earlier than usual if it's been a particularly hot night - or the heating if it's an unusually frosty morning.

One drawback that occurred to us is the growing number of electronic devices - including many that use plugpacks - that go into some kind of standby mode when power is applied and you have to press a button before they start working. The Insight Switch would be able to monitor energy use and turn such devices off, but it couldn't turn them on.

The WeMo range also includes a simpler switch without monitoring capability, a wall-mounted light switch, a motion-detecting switch, and smart LED globes.

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