Wemo, the good residence arm of Belkin, introduced an up to date model of its in-wall dimmer swap this week. The brand new Wemo Sensible Dimmer with Thread ($59.99) is a wired good swap that permits you to dim and switch lights on and off remotely. It really works completely with Apple’s HomeKit platform over Thread or Bluetooth and is on the market now from Belkin’s internet retailer (and coming quickly to Amazon).
This HomeKit focus follows a latest development for the corporate, whose previous couple of merchandise — the Wemo Stage Scene Controller, good plug, and video doorbell — solely work with Apple’s good residence platform. This implies the brand new swap will use the Apple Dwelling app completely (and never the Wemo app), and can work with Siri for voice management.
Regardless of utilizing Thread, the principle wi-fi protocol for Matter, and having publicly introduced it could launch new Matter-ready gadgets this summer season, Wemo says the Sensible Dimmer received’t be upgraded to help the upcoming good residence customary.
“As of proper now, the Dimmer with Thread won’t be upgradable to Matter by way of firmware replace when the brand new customary launches later this 12 months,” Cassie Pineda, a spokesperson for Belkin, advised The Verge in an e-mail. “When Matter launches later this 12 months, we are going to carry to market new switches/dimmers that help Matter over Thread.”
Whereas it appears redundant to launch two nearly equivalent variations of the identical product in the identical 12 months, Pineda mentioned the reasoning is that the dimmer launching right now helps HomeKit over Thread, “offering shoppers with a extra responsive, dependable, and safe good residence expertise with out the trouble of third-party apps,” she mentioned. Matter’s delay (it was initially scheduled to launch this summer season), could have additionally contributed to this cut up ecosystem.
The brand new Sensible Dimmer doesn’t exchange the present Wemo Sensible Dimmer Swap, which remains to be accessible and works over Wi-Fi. That’s suitable with Amazon Alexa, Google Dwelling, and Apple HomeKit, and solely prices round $40.
The largest change with the brand new model, past being unique to Apple’s platform, is the usage of Thread moderately than Wi-Fi for connectivity. Thread is a wi-fi protocol particularly constructed for good residence gadgets; it’s designed to be sooner and extra dependable, in addition to use much less energy than Wi-Fi.
As a result of the Sensible Dimmer makes use of HomeKit over Thread, you want an Apple HomePod Mini or Apple TV 4K (second gen) to behave as Thread border router for the swap. A forthcoming replace to Thread will open up border routers from totally different producers to work collectively, however the Wemo Swap can solely work with Apple’s border routers.
If you happen to don’t have a Mini or newer Apple TV, you possibly can nonetheless use the Sensible Dimmer over Bluetooth. For this, you’d simply want an iPhone for native management and an Apple Dwelling hub (an iPad or any mannequin of Apple TV or HomePod) if you wish to management the swap whenever you’re away from residence and to arrange automations within the Dwelling app.
Along with Thread and Bluetooth, the Sensible Dimmer additionally has NFC know-how for a faster, tap-to-pair setup.
A wired swap, the Sensible Dimmer works with or and not using a impartial wire, making it suitable with each newer and older properties. There are only some good switches that work and not using a impartial wire: Lutron Caseta, Leviton, Aqara, and GE Lighting’s Cync supply a few of the extra well-known choices.
Wemo’s Sensible Dimmer isn’t suitable with three-way switches (lights which might be managed by switches from two areas). It might probably solely exchange single-pole switches (Wemo does promote a Wi-Fi three-way good swap). It may be paired with the Wemo Stage Scene Controller to recreate a digital three-way setup. Wemo says the swap has flicker-free know-how, so works with each customary and dimmable bulbs with out making a flickering impact at decrease mild ranges.
Whereas it’s good to see extra Thread merchandise coming to the good residence, launching new Thread gadgets that will not be upgraded to Matter right now after which promising the identical gadget will probably be coming later this 12 months with Matter help goes to trigger confusion. Confusion within the good residence is likely one of the foremost issues Matter is meant to repair.
The principle takeaway right here is that Wemo’s new Sensible Dimmer is designed for individuals who are all-in on Apple’s HomeKit and haven’t any plans to attempt another good residence platform. If you’re planning on adopting Matter in your good residence — which brings with it the promise of controlling your house with a number of platforms in order for you — then await the following model.