Hooked Up: Chet Pipkin with device at Belkin International in Playa Vista.

Hooked Up: Chet Pipkin with device at Belkin International in Playa Vista. Photo by Ringo Chiu.

WeMo water allows it to be inserted in a very straight-forward fashion anywhere in the home’s plumbing and it starts to give us insight on something that none of us have ever had much insight on before: where water’s being used in the home. Whether it’s my kitchen sink, shower, irrigation system or appliance using water, and how much water is being used. WeMo Power works in a similar way. From a single point of contact in the home we can tell what’s using electricity, when it’s using it and how much is being used.

How connected are you to the “Internet of Things”?

I have a wife and seven kids. I know that it’s important to us, as they’re young and growing up, to know when they’re home and when they’re not home. Being able to do things like using Linksys Smart Wi-Fi software on my router at home, I can easily see that their smart device is connected or not. If it’s connected, they’re probably home. It doesn’t guarantee me they’re home, but they’re probably home. And if they just got home, and our deal is that they should be doing homework for the next two hours, if the Xbox fires up in 15 minutes, they might not be doing their homework.

Beyond monitoring kids, WeMo Power and WeMo Water seem tailor-made for commercial customers. Was this an intentional shift?

Our hope would be that this is a solution that would be made available to everyone who would benefit from it. Whether that comes more through business or the consumer themselves, I think we would embrace both ways. Seldom is it only one particular way that things happen, and I think in this example that it would start to reach consumers in multiple ways.

Many of your products seem geared toward families and homeowners. What about everyone else?

We’ve got a tendency to say smart home or connected home, so I think the vision for a lot of us is a house maybe with a picket fence around it. What we’re learning is that where these experiences are coming to life is very often in people’s apartments. It’s a good reminder that we have to be careful about the names and labels we use.

So how does that knowledge affect your marketing?

I don’t know if we’ve really figured it out yet. As we started to get that insight over the last six to nine months, it started to dawn on us: Even as we’re doing our graphic imaging and everything, we had been showing a home. I don’t know if we’ve started to see images yet that show an apartment for example. That makes it seem like we don’t get it and we’re not aware. There’s an awareness inside the organization around this theme.

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