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.