Automating Your Blinds and Drapes: Top 3 Things to Consider
With the increase popularity of Home Automation and the proliferation of various Smart gadgets like speakers, sensors, etc., automation/motorization of window coverings is a topic virtually every customer of ours ask. Here are the top 3 factors to consider.
With the increase popularity of Home Automation and the proliferation of various Smart gadgets like speakers, sensors, etc., automation/motorization of window coverings is a topic virtually every customer of ours ask. Every home/condo and lifestyle situation is unique, so we will only provide broad guidelines and general advice in this article. If you live in the Greater Toronto Area or Waterloo/Kitchener area in Ontario, we encourage you to reach out to us for a FREE motorization/automation consultation to further tailor solutions to meet your specific needs.
There are 3 main factors to consider in choosing the right motorization solution for your home:
1. Need for automation
2. Window Covering choices
1. Need for Automation
While it definitely cool to imaging control all the blinds and drapery in your home with a push of a button on a remote control or a voice command to your smart speaker, the reality is that automating all the window coverings in your home can exceed budget expectations and, for some windows, do not provide any tangible benefits to the user. A more practical approach would be to consider which windows would you truly benefit from automation. A few common considerations include:• Is the window hard to reach?• Is the window too big e.g. wide windows where drawing the drapery panels manually require a lot of back and forth. Or very tall windows.• Is there a predictable schedule for when you need to operate the shades, open or close? e.g. shades down when going to work.• Do I need to control multiple window coverings in a room to achieve the desired ambiance.• Do I want the shades/drapery to centrally control by a home automation system so I can push one button to create a Scene setting. e.g. movie showing scene – lights off, blinds down or drapery drawn closed, speakers on, etc.
2. Window Covering Choices
A second factor to consider when deciding which windows to have automated shades or drapes is the type of product you plan to use for the windows.
Different products are used to achieve different set of light control, privacy, outside viewing and design aesthetics. In a room with multiple windows, there might be a need to simultaneously control multiple window coverings to achieve the desired end settings. Some window shades or drapery may need a 3rd position besides full open or full close. Also depending on the size and weight (especially of large drapery, certain power sources are required like hardwired or plug-in AC.
Manually operating 1 or 2 shades in a room might be faster and more practical, but when there are many windows in a room, it might be better to group control them with a push of a remote control button.
With the right advice from a motorization expert, you can get the results you want at the right price with long-term reliability in mind.
With the proliferation of competing Home Automation products in the market, there are currently no common standards. It becomes important that the technology used in automating the window coverings (blinds and drapery) is future proof, so that 1 common home automation app can be use to control lighting, music, security, garage door, and window covering, can be used if the homeowner desires.
We offer a broad range of control and interfaces that makes it easier than ever to integrate motorized shading and drapery with third-party control systems regardless of technology or brand. We have solutions to fit all project needs, regardless of shade specifications, power or technology requirements.
Our products integrate with many different third-party technologies:
- Radio Technology Somfy® (RTS): Allows wireless radio control of motorized applications via the RTS family of controls
- Somfy Digital NetworkTM (SDN) RS485 is a control method that uses a two-wired bus.
- Z-Wave® is an interoperable, 2-way RF mesh networking technology used for both residential and light commercial automation applications
- Zigbee® Protocol is a low-powered RF mesh networking technology which uses the reliable 2.4Ghz standard for both residential and commercial applications
- Internet Protocol Allows bidirectional shade integration over a local network.
- Dry Contact input for basic low voltage control that is compatible with most home automation systems.
Third-Party Automation Systems
Whether its high-end hardwired Home Automation systems like Crestron or Control4 or the latest wireless consumer grade solutions like Amazon Alexa, we can ensure that our motorized window covering products can integrate with the system of your choice.
[Savant, Crestron, Control4, Leviton, RTI, Vantage, Savant, Elan, AMX, URC, Wink, Nexia, Iris, SmartThings, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT – If This Then That]
How to future-proof my automation investment?
Every protocol and communication standards have their cheerleaders and advocates. But the truth is that no one can forecast which technology or standards will dominate.
Even if you choose to just use a physical remote control to control your shades, blinds or drapery it is important to consider how future-proof your motor choice is. In choosing the right motor for your blinds, shades or drapery, it is important to stick to large motor brands (disclosure: we are a Somfy Expert manufacturer and retailer) and also a brand that is interoperable with multiple third-party home automation systems and apps. Some high end brands have their own proprietary protocols which don’t work seamlessly across platforms.