WIRED's Christopher Null reviews the Switchmate, an automated lighting system that doesn't require home owners to rewire anything or even plug anything into a wall socket. Homeowners can place the AA-battery powered, magnetic Switchmate on top of an existing light switch and connect the system to a smartphone app.
You can push the button on the front of the Switchmate to flip the switch—or (better yet) use your smartphone app to do it. Just pair the app to the switch, and your dumb old light switch is suddenly much smarter. And the Switchmate app is more than a remote control. It can do the usual tricks that more sophisticated lighting products can do, including setting up automatic light timers or turning the light on automatically when you come into range. It’s Bluetooth-based, so you can’t turn lights on manually when you’re not home, but any timer settings are persistent once they are set. At $35 per unit, it’s significantly more expensive than a plug-in light timer—though it’s on par with a typical Bluetooth smart switch.