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Wemo HomeKit remote bypasses apps and Siri for smart home control

Wemo has added a new remote control to its smart home line-up, with the Wemo Stage Scene Controller designed to make controlling HomeKit devices easier when you don’t want to pull out your phone or talk to Siri. The three button remote can trigger up to six different Apple HomeKit scenes.

That’s because each button recognizes both a short-press and a long-press, with the ability to assign a different scene to each. Exactly how complex the actions that follow are depend on your HomeKit configuration.

For example, you could have a Wemo remote button trigger something simple, like a single lamp, or locking a door. Alternatively, it might trigger a whole room’s worth of devices. That might include closing HomeKit-enabled shades, adjusting lights, and tweaking the thermostat.

The remote itself measures in at 66.4 x 32.8 mm, and weighs around 77 grams. It clips magnetically into an included faceplate, but can also be used with standard Decora faceplates. It’s powered by a single CE2032 battery.

Since this is designed for HomeKit networks, there’s no support for the Wemo Stage Scene Controller in the regular Wemo app. However, you do get Thread support – something we saw Apple quietly add to the newly-updated Apple TV 4K earlier this week – though for the moment it’s not enabled. Thread is a low-power mesh communication system for IoT and smart home devices, which promises features like auto-repairing networks and easier setup.

Physical controls for smart home systems became a rarity, as apps increasingly took over advanced networked devices like lights, blinds, and home audio. However the usefulness of a physical button or switch quickly became apparent: there are, after all, times when you don’t want to have to pull out your phone, unlock it, open the app, and find the right control, simply to adjust the lighting.

We’ve seen a few different options hit the market as a result, though remotes designed specifically for Apple’s HomeKit are still in relatively short supply. Of course, if you have a HomePod mini, you can use Siri to adjust those connected devices too via voice command. The diminutive smart speaker also has a Thread radio, though it too is yet to be enabled.

Sales of the Wemo Stage Scene Controller kick off from today. It’s priced at $49.99.

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Tech News

Eve Systems announces three HomeKit over Thread products

Eve Systems has announced that it is continuing to support HomeKit over Thread by rolling out three new products in the United States. One of the products is the Thread version of its popular Eve Energy smart switch. The company is also launching a smart weather station called Eve Weather and is announcing a Thread-enabled firmware for the second-generation Eve Aqua.

With the announcement of the three products, the number of Eve devices certified by the Thread Group totals seven.

Eve Energy is always on and can act as a router within a Thread network relaying data packets. The more of the router devices on the network, the more stable and the greater the network’s reach becomes. Eve Energy is power directly from outlet, While the other two devices are battery-operated. Eve Energy will launch on April 6 for $39.95.

Eve Weather shows users weather trends allowing easy tracking of the local outdoor temperature, humidity, and barometric pressure directly from an iPhone display. Eve Weather works with an app and aggregates current and past climate data. The device is IPX3 water-resistant and completely wireless, supporting both Bluetooth and Thread. Eve Weather costs $69.95 and launches March 26.

Eve Aqua is a device that aims to allow users to keep their garden green even when they’re away. Bluetooth-enabled Aqua sensors have to be in range of the home hub. However, Thread support makes connectivity easier because it can transmit data with higher power giving an extended range by placing a router-enabled Thread device such as the Eve Energy between the Eve Aqua and HomePod mini.

Thread technology was developed for smart home applications to improve connectivity between accessories. HomeKit products communicate using Wi-Fi or Bluetooth as well as HomeKit over Thread. Thread creates a mesh network that allows supported smart devices to talk to each other without going through a central hub.

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