06-07-2016 02:06 PM - edited 06-23-2016 07:25 AM
Wemo enthusiasts: You’ve been bugging us for a while about being able to control Wemos in multiple locations, and we keep saying it’s important to us and that it’s on our roadmap. As you may know, we’ve made several attempts at this and kept running into architectural issues that have forced us to abort for a later approach. Without getting into the hairy details as to what’s blocking us, we’d like to throw out an idea and see how you respond to it. Quite simply, we could spin up a Wemo Second Home app that you could install right next to your regular Wemo app that would allow you to control and create rules for Wemos in a second home. It’s not as slick as being able to switch between locations in a single app, but it allows you to do what you want without having to carry around a second phone. It’ll also allow us to get a real sense for the actual size of the user base who need this so we can throw appropriate resources behind a better solution (if warranted by our findings).
We’re curious as to how this quick solution might be received. So, let us know your reaction to this proposal:
We have created a poll for this which can be found on the right side of the community page. Please cast your vote and reply to this thread with your comments.
We'd like to hear your thoughts on this. Thank you!
Update June 23, 2016: We have closed the poll but will leave this thread open for comments. Thank you for your participation.
06-07-2016 04:33 PM
as a helpful tip: If you set both homes to have the same ssid and password it seams to work ok - the ones at the other location show as offline while on wifi - but you can still control the other home by switching wifi off and jumping to cellular service - and than you can see all of them
06-07-2016 04:41 PM
I certainly appreciate the willingness to help others get what they need and that this workaround achieves your principle objectives. However, the use case you describe isn't something we want to actively encourage. Clearly it gets (part of) the job done, but it also creates confusion in how we account for registered homes in our Cloud. We're driving for a solution that maintains the integrity of our Cloud data, which our deeper architectural solutions are designed to achieve and which our Second Home Wemo app idea would also accomplish.
I obviously can't keep others from hacking together their own solutions that leverage the structural relationships in our back end, I also want to be clear that such solutions aren't officially supported by Wemo and could lead to rather unpredictable states. I appreciate the contribution to the conversation nonetheless!
06-09-2016 07:57 PM
06-10-2016 08:51 AM
One of the princpal challenges we've had in delivering multi-home support is that we don't have any kind of credential system (username/email address and password, for example). This is a design choice made very early on in our architectural history and has a distinct advantage that one needn't create accounts or remember credentials in order to use Wemo. It met our goal of establishing the lowest barrier to entry into Home Automation. This choice was praised widely when we first hit the market in 2012. It has several distinct disadvantages, though, that we're slowly beginning to work around. The security of the system is built entirely around the implicit trust relationship established between the app itself and the Wemo devices on virtue of the fact that they both have access to the same local network. Extending this trust relationship to external systems or re-establishing a previously established trust relationship when NOT on that same network both prove problematic.
So, with a two-app solution, for each app instance that gives you an access to a home, you will need to first launch that app instance while on the local network of that home in order to populate the instance with that home's Wemo products.
With regards to Android permissions, there are specific features each of the requested permissions drive. Location, for example, allows us to prepopulate the app's location preference, which is used when establishing a sunset/sunrise rule. Contacts is a permission that we established when we were developing features for an Alarm Sensor product that we have since deprioritized. We worked with Network World about 18 months ago to publish an article that explained many of the permissions we require in the app. We're working on making better use of Android M's ad hoc permission system. So, for example, if you never establish a sun-based rule, we would never need to know your location. Or, if you never customize a device icon, you would never need to provide access to your camera or document data. If you deny a permission request, the features that require those permissions will be disabled. It's an elegant system, but requires a great deal of nuanced refactoring and exhaustive testing.
As for the firmware update, we are aware that some Andoid users have experienced some hiccups in the upgrade process and are investigating for a fix.
I'm glad you're finding great utility in our Wemo switches. Please review the above details on our two-app multi-home workaround and let me know if this would meet your needs. Again, we would not have a password system where someone could log into a home with some pre-established credentials (not yet). this would work just like the existing app, but since there is a 1:1 relationship between app and home, for two homes, you would need to instances of the app, which is what we're proposing here. Let me know how that works for you (or doesn't).
06-10-2016 08:14 PM - edited 06-10-2016 08:15 PM
Is this a feature for the minority (20%) rather than the majority (80%)? With finite resources at hand, I'd be happy with the simplest option to please the minority of the Wemo user base. What the majority is after however, is what ducati94 touched on, a more reliable ecosystem. Personally, I'd rather see effort going into the new line of sensors so I can create smarter automation (Need beta testers, Tom?).
06-10-2016 08:48 PM - edited 06-11-2016 09:01 AM
My order of priorities (as a WeMo user since Day 1) are:
1. Stability of the App/firmware - how difficult can this be? Why can't it just do what it's meant to do?
2. More complexity in the way rules can be written (IF THEN ELSE type functionality)
3. A dedicated iPad App which uses the full screen space (rather than it being worse than using it on an iPhone)
4. Better integration with other systems e.g. ecobee
5. Control of WeMos at multiple locations.
As a long term user, I am ultimately disappointed in the product, its development over the last few years and the technical support provided. WeMo does not fit into my long term home automation plans!