Smart blinds

When I started writing this blog post, I was all set to launch straight into things to think about, link to our video and say what I loved about being relaxed (not lazy) and opening the blinds from the bed. Until this…


Ikea is going to launch ‘Smart blinds’, in the UK, when is a different matter but they have already arrived in Germany and are forecast to be in the USA in April. Hopefully we will see them before then or soon after. (Update: They are still not here but there are some interesting ) They are aggressively priced at around 20-50% of the cost of ‘premium’ smart blinds and (at least in Germany) will come in a blackout and non-blackout version. While the selection is limited it is interesting to see the further march of Ikea into smart home products and what this will do to pricing and design in the UK by other manufacturers. I am hoping it will lead to a general decrease in prices as the market becomes more competitive.


But enough on the promise of an Ikea smart blinds and more on ‘smart’ blinds and in particular somfy blinds.


While there are several ‘smart blind’ systems in the UK market at the moment, Appeal Shading, Qmotion UK, Lutron, all of them require the installation of their own hub to control them. All of which tend to be fairly large boxes that plug into one of your router ports (a scarce commodity) and are closed systems that tend not to integrate well into an overall solution (we haven’t tried Qmotion yet, though can integrate apparently.) The only one we have found that works reliably and whose API is open and powerful, is Somfy. So not the cheapest blind on the market (come on Ikea) but the most reliable, discrete and powerful.

 

Good blind solutions should really offer the following:

 

A. Powered, battery or solar solution – Where possible always chase in power lines to your blinds but if you cannot then a discrete solar strip that charges a battery is a good option. Again, here you need to spend to get something that works reliably and is always charged. We have run a Somfy solar powered blind for the last 2 years and never had a problem.

B. Quite – No one wants a noisy blind in any room.

C. Design – They need to fit in with what you already have or as part of your renovation

D. Open API – Ideally they should have a good open API that can be connected to via your smart home solution. This helps to reduce the amount of additional apps and hardware you need to run your smart home

 

For more advice, it’s always worth dropping us a line, we are happy to chat, a lot.

 

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Nicholas