Belkin Smart Crock-Pot, DIY Kit, Connected Lights First Impressions

Tech Media Network (Tom's Guide)

If you're not familiar with smart home technology, rectify that. If CES 2014 is any indication, keeping tabs on your home from your phone is huge, and it's only going to grow. The market already runneth over with security cameras and Bluetooth locks. Belkin, however, chose to show off three unusual products: smart versions of a Crock Pot, an LED lightbulb and a DIY electronics kit.

Tom's Guide had a chance to get up close and personal with these three gadgets. While not every homeowner needs to rush out and buy them all right now, cooks and handymen might want to keep these items on their radars. The Crock Pot will sell for $99.99, while a starter kit for lightbulbs costs $129.99. Each additional bulb retails for $39.99. The DIY kit does not yet have a price, but all three systems will release in Spring 2014

The Crock-Pot Smart Slow Cooker lets users adjust temperatures and cooking times from their smartphones, and can send them notifications when the dish is finished cooking, or estimate the time remaining until completion. We found the pot to be large and heavy, which indicates that it should retain heat well and make enough food to feed a whole family.

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A Belkin representative explained that the LED lightbulbs connect to a WeMo Link (a hub for connected Belkin devices), and that a user can control up to sixty of them at a time. In addition to turning household lights on and off, users can also set them to a schedule, or ensure that they stay up and running during a vacation.

The most interesting device on display was the WeMo Maker, which lets DIY tinkerers retrofit any low-voltage device with smart home capabilities. A Belkin representative claimed that this would be ideal for gates, sprinklers and garage door openers, although anyone with a little wiring knowledge could adapt a slew of other electronics (provided that they do not exceed 5V).

The WeMo Maker was also the most mysterious device on display. Belkin only had a mock-up model available and has not yet determined a price.

Belkin's latest smart home tech may not suit everyone's lifestyle, but may be worth a look when you want to expand your smart home past your front door.

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