Belkin International has announced the WeMo Smart LED bulb along with a starter kit that includes a bridge between Wi-Fi networks and the ZigBee wireless network that underlies the company's WeMo home-automation technology platform. The home-networking specialist used the giant Consumer Electronics Show (CES) as the venue to announce its entry into the lighting market.
The WeMo platform was designed to enable home automation with Belkin offering wirelessly-accesible products such as switchable AC outlets, light switches, motion sensors, light sensors, and even a baby monitor. The WeMo nodes are connected by the ZigBee wireless network and the WeMo Link devices provide a bridge between the ZigBee nodes and a home Wi-Fi network. That Wi-Fi network allows access to the nodes from locally-connected smartphones, tablets, or PCs, or via any remote device connected through the Internet.
The networking setup is similar to that offered by Philips Lighting in the Hue product family.
Moreover, ZigBee technology in general is inching toward status as a de facto standard for indoor lighting networks. Indeed, the Connected Lighting Alliance has tapped ZigBee as the recommended technology for residential applications.
"Since first launching at the 2012 International CES, WeMo has become a major player in the connected home thanks to its simple, scalable, and affordable nature — words not typically associated with the connected home," said Ohad Zeira, director of product management for WeMo. "As the most approachable entry point into the Smart Home, we are excited to introduce new products and app upgrades in 2014 that will continue that trend, as well as grow our business with Jarden Consumer Solutions and future partners to expand WeMo's presence throughout the house."
The LED lamps offered initially by Belkin are 3000K, 800-lm, 60W-equivalent products projected for 23 years of life. Unlike Hue, the Belkin products produce only white light ,although the lamps are fully dimmable. In fact, Belkin offers a dim-to-sleep function that gradually dims the light. The company said that mode is designed to have people fall asleep more naturally.
For control, Belkin supplies a WeMo app for both Apple iOS and Android devices. The WeMo platform is also compatible with the IFTTT (If This Then That) web service that allows users to set rules online that can then autonomously trigger actions in the lamps such as dim levels or on/off control.
Belkin is launching its solid-state lighting (SSL) presence with the WeMo LED Lighting Starter set priced at $129.99. The kit includes two of the LED lamps along with the wireless bridge and the control apps. The company will offer additional lamps for $39.99. As many as 50 lamps can be deployed on one ZigBee network.