Belkin Puts HomeKit Compatibility Plans for WeMo Product Line 'On Hold'

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In January of 2015, Belkin said it was working with Apple to add HomeKit compatibility to its popular line of WeMo smart products "in the very near future," but more than a year later, HomeKit-compatible WeMo products have not debuted.

As it turns out, Belkin appears to be putting its plans to introduce HomeKit compatibility on hold because there is no way to add HomeKit to products that are already on the market. Belkin would need to develop an entire line of new HomeKit-enabled WeMo products, something that the company says it is not interested in doing in at the time being. The information was shared with MacRumors reader Steve on Facebook after he asked about HomeKit.

belkinwemo

We've been trying to integrate with HomeKit for sometime, as you know, but as of yet have not found a way to make existing WeMo products work with HomeKit that fall within the Apple guidelines. HomeKit integration requires a specific hardware component - it cannot happen with just a software or firmware update - which means that we would have to make a separate line of HomeKit enabled WeMo products in addition to the ones already out on the market.

This also means that all of the WeMo products you already own still wouldn't work with HomeKit and you would have to buy new ones in order to get compatibility. We have put HomeKit compatibility on hold until we can find a way to make it work for both new and existing users. We are sorry for the disappointing news.

The WeMo Facebook representative goes on to say that "nothing is off the table" but the company wants to be sure that its product decisions "make sense for the entire WeMo ecosystem" and all current and future users.

Apple's HomeKit system has specific and stringent security requirements [PDF] that must be included with products that Apple certifies as HomeKit compatible. Existing Belkin WeMo products may not meet Apple's security specifications, which have been described as "bleeding edge."

Apple's demand for strong end-to-end encryption, even for Bluetooth LE, has been citied as one of the reasons why HomeKit-enabled products were slow to roll out to consumers following the mid-2015 HomeKit launch. Unless Apple relaxes its requirements, which seems unlikely, HomeKit compatibility won't come to the WeMo line until Belkin decides to create new HomeKit-enabled products.

With a huge range of WeMo products, from smart outlets and bulbs to cameras and crockpots, already on the market, it's not hard to understand Belkin's reluctance to create all new products and alienate its existing customer base. Some customers using the WeMo line could have hundreds of dollars invested in various products, and for existing customers interested in HomeKit compatibility, all of those items would need to be repurchased.

Tags: Belkin, WeMo

Top Rated Comments

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Avatar
60 months ago
I get that Belkin doesn't want to create an entire new line of HomeKit gear, but those security requirements set by Apple aren't there for nothing. Security is key when it comes to someone's home, since that is pretty much one's most private place. You wouldn't want to have exploitable flaws in your system that would allow hackers to watch your cams or control your appliances...
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
60 months ago
A £25 Raspberry Pi and an install of Homebridge enable WeMo switches to work with HomeKit.
They seriously can't figure out how to do it?! Amazing...

Why can't they make a bridge, like the new Philips Hue bridge that sits between their WeMo devices and HomeKit?
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
60 months ago
HomeKit is a feature that has so much potential, but is being neglected. I hope Apple will step up with iOS 10. My wish list:

* Home app that lists all the devices by room, showing their current status and toggle them.
* Ability to add new device WITHOUT using 3rd party apps. It should be similar to Apple Pay, which optionally prompts you to install app.
* Better voice recognition for HomeKit devices in Siri.
* Ability to use Apple Watch or iPhone as a proximity based trigger.
* Do Not Disturb setting to turn off/on certain HomeKit automatically, each with separate schedule.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
60 months ago

I believe that Apple missed the mark entirely with HomeKit. At the time of initial release I dont think there was a single product on the face of the earth that it supported. I believe they would have been better to leave the security questions in the hands of the users rather than excluding the millions of devices already in place. I use Insteon products, which work well. I have zero plans to move anything to HomeKit because it trashes way too much.

My entire house - all lights and windows shades, run on Lutron's Serena Shades and Lutron Caseta light switches. It. Is. Awesome. I can tell Siri to turn on whatever lights, groups of lights, set the lights to come on at different times or just on/off at sunset/sunrise. You can even tell Siri to set the lights to 27% if you like - or turn off all the lights (all of this from anywhere in the world). Same for the shades. HomeKit is absolutely in its infancy, but the Lutron system is superb.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
60 months ago
I believe that Apple missed the mark entirely with HomeKit. At the time of initial release I dont think there was a single product on the face of the earth that it supported. I believe they would have been better to leave the security questions in the hands of the users rather than excluding the millions of devices already in place. I use Insteon products, which work well. I have zero plans to move anything to HomeKit because it trashes way too much.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
60 months ago
Apple doesn't have people in charge that understand how to spread the adoption of their standards. Apple is hoping that anything it touches will turn to gold even without effort or concrete long-term strategy, but they at increasingly wrong. They will be in for a huge disappointment if this is how they plan to treat their future products including the Apple car.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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