BLINDS // Who is winning the race?

[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:

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.


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


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

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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

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

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.


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.


Window coverings are ridiculously expensive.

I so wish I had purchased smart ones for the 6 south-facing windows in my house… but alas, when we renovated a year ago I had not yet discovered this smart house wormhole, so we bought all dumb shades. You’re lucky you didn’t have any sunk cost!

We have dumb shades with an R-Factor around 4 as well, but it’s too much of a pain to go around to each window on 2 floors every time we leave/arrive. Not automating my shades is my biggest smart house regret.

And, if I had it to do over again, Serena shades would be my solution of choice.


ubisys offers ZigBee controllers which connect your motorized blinds. They support lift, lift and tilt or tilt only operation. Currently available for 230V~ mains. Both flush-mounted and DIN rail mounted versions are available since more than two years. (full technical documentation, including ZigBee interface)

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I’m also looking at the Serena products for my soon-to-be-built house, and am probably going with the same ones as you. My local Lowes will measure my eleven windows and order them and install them for what I consider a reasonable price.

One question–have you found a good solution for large sliding glass doors? When I had the battery powered Hunter Douglas blinds installed in my current house five years ago (pre-automation) there were no powered options for the verticals I installed on the slider. I would like a “close and tilt” option (but I could just live with a tilt if necessary).

Pella makes battery-powered blinds that are integrated between the panes of glass of their sliding (and french) doors. I don’t know if they have a HA interface, but it’s likely something could be hacked if they don’t.

Pella also announced integrated z-wave sensors in their doors and windows.

Thanks. I’ll look into that as I believe Pella is one of the window options I have for the new house.

It turns out Hunter Douglas does have an automated solution. Needs a $100 hub for an automated out-of-house connection. There are two options for sliding glass doors, both of which look pretty sharp. I placed an order today to do my entire house (to be hopefully completed in February). It probably won’t integrate with SmartThings just yet, but I’m hopeful since I believe it uses the same motorized/wireless signal as the Somfy.

Okay I’m missing something here, new to automated blinds and try to get upto speed. I see many folks have installed motorized blinds and then remote/zwave enabled them.

As I understand there are 2 components to remote blinds:

  1. Motorized blinds - these are blinds connected to a motor which is controlled by a relay
  2. Remote control - these could be ZWave or just a remote or some custom controller which controls the relays for the blind motors

Did I get that right?

If so then I’m thinking I would like to use one of these 2 zwave blinds motors relay controllers to control my blinds. In this case what options does one have for motorized blinds which can be controlled by these controllers.

I don´t know if it will be possible to integrate with ST once the bluetooth compatibility is released, but I found this a good and cheap option (still to be released)

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That does have potential. I can’t find any more info, but by passing one of their stretch goals, it seems like there may be additional options for connecting it to other systems:

We are overwhelmed by the support and thanks to all backers MOVE will now get a “control by wire” function. With this function MOVE will be even more versatile and open for integration to different home automation systems or other control devices.

I’m not seeing the potential. It’s a Bluetooth activated straight line motor actuator. The founders seem totally clueless about most automatic blind issues, including, for example, blinds that require pulling at an angle, what you do if there’s a power outage when the blinds are partway open, any sense of safety issues, any notion of API design or development… The list goes on.

These are some guys who figured out they could push a button and have a gear turn. Then they decided they’d make the button a Bluetooth button.

I don’t even see any indication that they know they have to get FCC approval.

Looks like a dorm room project. I don’t expect this to ever come to market. And if it does it won’t work the way they’ve described in their stretch goals, certainly not at that price point.

Reminds me of that Best Buy commercial that’s running right now of the high school guy who walks into Best Buy and says he wants a laptop for school and he’s also going to launch a tech start up.

Just sayin’…

I am in the same boat @RBoy. Everything I have looked at is 12 or 24 volt DC though. Are these AC controllers?

Don’t remember, I’m still trying to figure it out. Are you saying most blind motors are DC? Also where can I find a system with just the blinds/motors which I can hook up to a Zwave relay?