There are 1.5 million WeMo devices in the field, according to Peter Taylor, the VP of products at Belkin, in charge of the WeMo line of connected home devices. WeMo products run the gamut from Wi-Fi connected outlets that let a user remotely turn an appliance on and off, to more complicated devices such as the connected Mr. Coffee maker that not only allows for remote connectivity, but also has sensors that will let you know if your coffee pot needs more beans or water.
The WeMo line of devices has been around since 2012, and has expanded gradually to include outlets, light switches, light bulbs, as well as a line of sensors that was shown at CES, the consumer electronics trade show in Las Vegas last January but are still not out yet. However, WeMo products have a huge and glaring problem. The software running them is terrible. It has been beset by security issues, customer complaints, and generally can drive a user batty.
However, that’s about to change. Taylor said last week that the WeMo team has been focused on repairing the software and that in January WeMo’s users should expect an update. This means that daylights savings time won’t break all your schedules as sometimes happens. Or adding something to your Wi-Fi network won’t inexplicably confuse every WeMo device in the house. Or that one day your WeMo products will just decide that they no longer want to respond to their product names. Every WeMo user has a story, and like Tolstoy, every WeMo user is unhappy in their own way.
However, with the upcoming software update, it’s unclear if WeMo plans to lock down its application programming interface (API) that lets other devices interact with the Belkin products. Taylor was cryptic about how these changes might affect unauthorized partners who might be linking their products to WeMo devices. However, if it means that users can depend on their schedules to stay up to date and software updates to stop breaking their systems, it would probably be worth it.
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