Belkin’s WeMo Light Switch now works when you’re away

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One of the coolest uses for home automation is making your home smarter when you’re not there. We’re not talking installing an airlock and blowing you out into space. No, we’re talking tricking people into thinking you’re home, and that’s just what an update to a WiFi light does.

Rolling out to anyone who ponied up the cash to install the Belkin WiFi-based WeMo Light Switch are some new features aimed at making your home seem smarter, with a new gesture programmed into the switch, better rules for making the system work with sunrise and sunset times, and then a setting for while you’re away.

First up is the gesture, which isn’t really a gesture, but rather a long press. This new press to the WeMo Light Switch allows your WeMo to talk to the “If That Then This” system online, also known as IFTTT. That system allows anyone with an interest in basic programming to make compatible devices do various things.

For instance, if you turn the light on, you could also turn on other things in your home, or switch connected cameras off.

This extra long press makes this possible, and can be activated when someone holds down the switch for longer than two seconds.

Next up is the sunset and sunrise rules, which are now updated based on your post code. If you live in Bondi, you might have a slightly different sunset than someone in Melbourne, and want the lights to switch on at that time, so this update can make that possible.

Finally, there’s the “simulated occupancy” mode, which is easily the coolest mode of all.

This feature turns the lights on and off at different times to — as the mode name suggests — simulate occupancy.

“It is important that WeMo constantly evolves, to enable us to deliver the best connected home experience we can,” said Dan Hall, Belkin’s Product Manager for the Australia and New Zealand region.

“This new and improved app gives WeMo users more ways to customise their home, including deeper integration with IFTTT and expanded control over their home lighting.”

Owners of the WeMo Light Switch should see the new features for their WeMo App on Apple iOS and Google Android now, and even if you don’t have a light switch or rent and can’t install one, you can probably expect similar features to roll out in the upcoming WeMo Light Bulb, which should be here in the next few months.