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Belkin adds WeMo Insight Switch to the home-automation tool family

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The Belkin WeMo family of home-automation tools grew by one yesterday with the introduction of a new member -- the WeMo Insight Switch (US$59.99). The Insight Switch one-ups its older sibling, the WeMo Switch ($49.99), by being smarter and skinnier.

While the WeMo Switch provided a way for iPhone users to turn lights and appliances on or off from anywhere they were on a network by using the WeMo app, the Insight Switch adds a new trick -- being able to monitor power usage. Like its older sibling, the Insight Switch has its own IFTTT.com channel to provide even more intelligence to the seemingly simple task of turning something on or off.

For example, you can set up the WeMo Insight Switch to monitor a plugged-in device -- let's say an electric space heater. If that power-hungry appliance has been on for a certain amount of time, you can tell the switch to shut it off. Likewise, if the daily cost of using the space heater to keep your toes warm rises above a pre-set level, you can shut it off. You could also use the Insight Switch to tell you something like how long a window-mounted air conditioner has been running and send that info in a text message.

I mentioned how the Insight Switch is smarter than the old WeMo Switch in being able to monitor energy usage, but I also said it was skinnier. The new switch is much smaller than its predecessor, making it much more likely for design-conscious homeowners to adopt the Insight Switch.

The WeMo app also received a redesign yesterday, adding support for the new switch, getting a new iOS 7-friendly look and providing faster response than the old app. In addition, WeMo is now supported on the Android platform.

TUAW will have a full review of the WeMo Insight Switch in the near future.

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