BLINDS // Who is winning the race?

project_shades

(Kyle ) #1

So ive seen lots of threads scattered everywhere across the community, discussing the IDEA or prototyping of window coverings automation/integration . . . BUT . . . Who is really leading the race or even part of it ???

Notable brands ive noticed are:

COMFEE
SOMFY
IBLINDS

Comfee:
Seems the most developed but realllllly slacking on the timescale aspect and seems to not be very vocal about there progress or plans . . .

Somfy:
Limited resources on progress of a dedicated product even though mentioned to be on there roadmap… a few home hacks have been made before the release of the supposed official one, but if it follows there other product list pricing, it will be very costly . . .

iBlinds:
New on the block and has very unrealistic timescaling on coming to market but is effectively the same as comfee however more open on the plans etc . . .

SOOOOOOOO:

What is everyones views on this ?

Does anyone know of anything else ?

What do people want to see feature wise from these blinds / window covering automation solution that devlopers/manufacturers may have not thought to even consider ?

Are SmartThings working directly with anyone in this field or anyone else in the community for that matter ?

Lets centralise this as a subject and try make some progress with the plug and play automated windows covering product, as i know its on everyones top 10 list for products they want to integrate for security and gimmick purposes :slight_smile:


Integrating window shades with SmartThings (Axis Gear)
#2

Lutron’s already won this one with their Serena line. Works with Staples Connect, HomeKit, Wink, Insteon, a few more. (Not SmartThings directly, though, but there is an IFTTT channel so you have integration that way.) I expect these to be the first to work with Echo sometime soon.

Granted, these are cordless cellular shades, or roller shades, but there’s a reason for that. Automating a corded shade for unattended operation is a huge safety hazard for kids and pets. Liability set aside costs for any company contemplating such a product would be through the roof.

Lutron has a good selection of a much safer product at a reasonable price with several controller choices.

http://www.lowes.com/cd_Serena+RemoteControlled+Shades+Combine+Style+Convenience_1389033289624_

Homekit announcement:

http://www.apple.com/shop/product/HHV32LL/A/lutron-casta-wireless-smart-lighting-plug-in-lamp-dimmer-kit-homekit-enabled

Somfy is also a leading contender, but with fewer integrations.


(Kyle ) #3

I Mean which is leading in terms of SmartThings integration . . . Its the one majorrrrr thing we dont have that everyone else seems to be lapping up.

:slight_smile:


(Kyle ) #4

Ps: just priced up serena shades to do my whole house and it would be $4000+ so even if that was intergrated into SmartThings its still not a viable solutions for 99%nof the ST Audience . . . Hmm :confused:


#5

Lutron also has an IFTTT channel, so you’ve already got ST/Serena integration that way. :wink:

As for the cost, different people have different budgets. Somebody’s buying those $6,000 Samsung refrigerators.

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/samsung-chef-collection-24-1-cu-ft-counter-depth-4-door-french-door-refrigerator-with-thru-the-door-ice-and-water-stainless-steel/5048033.p?id=1219646569272&skuId=5048033


(Marc) #6

My integration with ST and Somfy works perfect. My blinds close before sunset and open during sunrise everyday. In addition, I set up virtual switches to raise, tilt and close them and use widgets on my iOS today screen and Apple Watch to initiate those actions. I haven’t pulled out my Somfy remote since I set this up a few months ago. Not cheap though as it cost me $1700 to motorized my existing 5 blinds in my window.


(Kyle ) #7

well some may, but not me . . . Or 80% of the consumers and community that deal with ST . . . Sooooo back to my origonal thread post lol :wink:


(Kyle ) #8

@Mbhforum any link to this project - on an ease scale is it relatively easy and realistic price wise or is this a dream priced project for the wizards of coding ?

Somfy is based (or had a snazzy office) about 3 miles from my house in leeds, uk . . . Have you told them of your integration and had an response ?


(Marc) #9

Check my thread out: My Somfy-SmartThings Integration

All of the coding is done for you, maybe with a little tinkering. Somfy also sells a MyLink system which is another hub and dedicated app but I returned it in favor of the ZWave module which works with ST.


(Kyle ) #10

Sounds and looks fantastic but again - budget wise its miles out of the majority of peoples budgets . . .

If comfee or iblinds complete as planned you will be able to complete a whole 3 story house for the price of one window in somfy or serena products

Im looking to identify the REALISTIC future market leader for smartthings blinds automation in a way that i mean one that is easy to plug and play and is versatile to be retrofitted and is affordable to a majoroty not minority

This thread was soley to see if anyone had inside knowledge or tip offs of anything been close to completition or worked on as its embaressing that ST hasnt got a solution linked in but now its obvious why, as the only current solutions are pricey which means integrating them officially wouldn’t benefit enough people in the consumer base . . .

Real shame - fortunes to be made for whoever cracks it first . . . My bet is with comfee i guess, regardless of the fact they aint very open with info and progress.


(ActionTiles.com co-founder Terry @ActionTiles; GitHub: @cosmicpuppy) #11

The connectivity and software problems are trivial compared to the mechanical challenges.

Any manufacturer that has a reliable mechanical system will tend towards opening up the communication to one or more popular standards … Yes… that’s a generalization, as we know, for example, SmartThings doesn’t integrate with Lutron lighting (… yet?), and the same walls will exist for some blind manufacturers too.

So just hope that whatever new vendor(s) solve and build affordable and reliable mechanical solutions are wise enough to build in open/standard communication protocol(s).

I’m not holding my breath because … the retrofit mechanics are very hard to do affordably. Software and even, solid state hardware, are a whole different league than mechanical hardware.

Random analogy: Roomba’s are pretty expensive, still, right? And I don’t believe they are very effective … battery powered suction, minimal capacity for dirt, no “weight” to dig into the carpet. The software is clever, but a college robotics class could replicate the software. Can they improve the actual vacuum effectiveness? Make it self-emptying? Clear the roller of stuck threads and paper clips?


#12

My bet is on TiltMyBlinds/MySmartBlinds…

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/551966671/automate-your-blinds-with-a-smart-control-kit-in-1/description

They haven’t delivered yet and are behind on commitments, but the product seems real… control looks to only be Bluetooth, so not sure about ST integration…


(Kyle ) #13

[quote=“bgadam, post:12, topic:19534”]
control looks to only be Bluetooth, so not sure about ST integration…
[/quote] SMARTTHINGS HUB V.2 will have BLE so should be integratable . . . looks like a good contender to be fair :slight_smile:


(Patrick Stuart [@pstuart]) #14

I think the answer to the question posed, is no one, if you want it cheap.

There are lots of solutions if you are willing to pay for it.

“I want everything automated but I don’t want to pay more then $99 bucks for it…”

Well, you are going to be waiting a long time.

Blinds are extremely expensive to automate and are usually custom made to size windows and designs.

Heck the really expensive blinds I went with 5 years ago aren’t even automatable because they are pull ones that open top and bottom.

Wait a few more years and maybe Monoprice will come out with a $99 zwave motorized blind that fits all types of windows.

Until then, be prepared for hacks and weak 3rd party integration if you don’t want to pay through the roof for established solutions…

As for BLE, I think the issue there is going to be range. I haven’t seen any good BLE repeaters yet, but maybe some are going to come out when this stuff goes mainstream.


(Marc) #15

My blinds cost $1,100 and another $1,700 to automate which I retrofitted later. Yes you read that right :smile:


(Rey Rios) #16

My somfy roller shades cost about $600 each installed (we have 4 and they are big). Add the Somfy Z-wave ($100). It works great with ST. But it is not cheap. I wish I could have done my whole downstairs, but it would have been over $10,000


(Brian) #17

I would love to have controllable blinds. We want to get the cellular ones but in Canada there is limited products…
Once Apple does homekit and products start to use it, it will take off more I am sure. Would be nice if smartthings had more direct compatibility with other products


(Justin Wurth) #18

Or there is this. Automated Window Blinds - Spark Core
Pretty simple solution if you have venetian blinds.


#19

One small protocol point…

BLE itself is a point to point network. No repeats.

That’s why HomeKit is going to use a bridge and tunnels structure. WiFi permeates the house. Then each room has a Wifi bridge, typically a plug in module. The bluetooth devices in that room communicate to that bridge.
This is the same way bluetooth locks like lockitron’s Bolt work. Separate Wifi bridge nearby. It’s also typically how whole house audio systems with bluetooth components work. The bluetooth doesn’t repeat–it gets bridged to WiFi.

Bluetooth mesh, which will repeat, was just accepted in concept a few months ago, but not yet used much.


(Beth A Steffel) #20

I bought my first house a little over a year ago. It’s new construction, so the windows still have paper blinds on them. Not a good long-term solution. I’ve done home automation on the whole house (48 connected things, gate, garage, and locks automatically open and close when I come and go, etc.). I definitely wanted window coverings to be smart as well. After extensive research looking at both shades and smart films, I decided to go with Serena Shades from Lutron. I saw them in action at Dwell on Design in LA in May and was very impressed. After pricing them out (way more than I wanted to spend, but also realizing that even “dumb” window coverings are ridiculously expensive), I bit the bullet and ordered for the whole house (at least they gave me a 25% discount). Again, way too much money, but my thought is that I wanted a good long-term solution for window coverings (hoping for at least ten years…), not something that I would be dissatisfied with in a short period of time. the other consideration, depending on what type of window coverings you buy, is their insulating/climate control features, especially with being able to automate them to work with the sun. They have a dizzying array of options, but the one I went with was the honeycomb room darkening version. They are rated to have an R-factor of 4.3 (standard double-pane windows are R factor 2). I’m based in southern California, and being able to use automated window coverings to control air conditioning costs was a huge selling feature.

All of this is still in the hopeful stage, though. There’s a 20-business day turnaround to get the shades, and I’m about halfway through that. I’ll definitely post a follow-up when I get them and can give a “boots-on-the-ground” perspective.