Internet Connected Christmas Lights with WeMo


Last week on Mac Power Users David and I shared some of the items on our holiday wish lists. I mentioned the new WeMo insight Switch was on my list this year (I already own a couple of the previous generation switches) and David talked about how he uses a WeMo to control his Christmas lights. This weekend, when putting up the lights on my home, I decided to repurpose one of my WeMos to this task and I'm delighted with the end results.

Unfortunately with my hectic schedule it's not unusual for me to get home late or just forget to turn the Christmas lights on or off. No more, I've automated the process. Sure, I could buy a standard mechanical timer, but what would be the fun in that? I've repurposed the WeMo that traditionally controls my bedroom fan for my Christmas lights. Using one of the WeMo's standard rules, I've set the lights to turn on at sunset and off at 10pm each day. No hassle, no fuss.

As an extra bonus, I can turn the lights on and off manually from my iPhone. The neighborhood kids (and me too) had a fun time in the yard with that trick. But Aaron pinged me on Twitter and told me with IFTTT you can use Siri to control WeMo. The process was written up by Steve Sande for TUAW. Essentially, you're enabling the WeMo and SMS channels on IFTTT and using Siri to send a text message to IFTTT to trigger an action with your WeMo. Very cool.

Next year I plan to take my setup one step further by installing a WeMo Light Switch. I actually have a electrical outlet built in my soffit of my home specifically for Christmas lights wired up to one of the switches by my front door. Using the WeMo Light Switch would free back up my current WeMo Switch. (Without my bedroom WeMo I have to manually turn on and off my bedroom fan manually, like an animal!)

I can't describe the simple joy automating my Christmas lights brings. There must be something wrong with me.

Edit: For clarification, my WeMo is plugged into an outlet inside my garage where it's protected from the weather. Being in Florida, the tempatures in my garage are mild. According to Belkin's site WeMo's are for indoor use only.