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WeMo

Belkin released the Australian version of the WeMo (a WiFi controlled switch) a few weeks ago. Some experiments with it showed that it is probably the easiest home automation system out there … but it has a few annoying limitations.
The Belkin WeMo (http://www.belkin.com/us/wemo-switch) is a WiFi controlled switch with a small scheduling facility - it will let you setup 5 schedule items which can be turn on, turn off or turn on and then off. It is controlled from a iOS application. A single site can be remote controlled via a cloud based relay. It is well suited for its primary task of easy home automation.

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Where the device was less than desirable is that it does not have a published API and is limited to an iOS application for configuration and setup.

A third-party Perl module is available for controlling the device - it only turns the device on and off - from http://eric-blue.com/belkin-wemo-api/ at https://github.com/ericblue/Perl-Belkin-WeMo-API. This allows local devices to be activated and deactivated.

My application was to reset a couple of misbehaving wireless routers (yes, I am trying to pull myself up by my bootstraps) using Nagios to detect their failure. This unfortunately did not go well even with overlapping access points. It turns out that the WeMo’s don’t like changing from the access point they initially associate with and don’t have a power cycle feature.

My reservations aside the WeMo does perform its primary design function admirably and if you have good steady WiFi works excellently for its task.

I have authored a Nagios check script for checking local connected WeMo devices are working: check_wemo.pl. This script is based on the Perl module mentioned above.