Automated Blinds-Privacy When You Want It

Automated Blinds-Privacy When You Want It
Automated Blinds-Privacy When You Want It

Home automation is all the rage right now. It's easy to see why, what with all the gorgeous automatic light control options and remote door lock and unlock technology proliferating the market. Not only do home automation systems make our houses more secure, but they also make them more convenient, and to some extent, offers up better decor. That is why it was inevitable that we would have smart automated blinds and other window treatments as part of the home automation options available for sale. Just as you can dim and brighten your lights when you want to, with automated blinds, you get absolute privacy when you want it.

Which Automated Blinds Work Well with Most Home Automation Systems?

This is the big question, isn't it? Are your automated blinds going to pair well with whatever home automation system you already have in store or will you need to have a complete overhaul? Frankly, the best options are the ones that can either operate independently from your current home automation system or one that works well with it. Both these options often tend to be easier to use and more convenient to install. So before you decide on which automated blinds to get, you should ask yourself:

  • Will they be a good fit for my current home automation setup?
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    Will they cost me an arm and a leg unnecessarily?
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    Can I install them myself and if not, are they affordable to have installed?
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    What kind of customer service and technical support does the parent company offer?

These are integral questions that will lead to you making a better choice when it comes to automated blinds.

What Kind of Smart Shades Solutions Are Available in the Market?

Technically speaking, automated blinds come in two general categories:

  • Motorized shades.
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    Retrofit devices.

Of course, with each option there comes some advantages and disadvantages that are associated with them.

Motorized Shades

Generally speaking, these automated blinds tend to be self-contained and quite reliable. They come with a smart hub or bridge that allows you to operate them seamlessly. They also are the type that is most likely to pair well with almost every home automation system in the market today. The main disadvantage that comes with these types of shades is that they are a bit more expensive.

As is to be expected, many of these shades are designed and marketed by the most recognizable brand names in the home automation systems industry:

  • Lutron
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    Pella
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    Somfy

These are also the brands that tend to integrate well with systems such as:

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    Nest
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    Apple Homekit
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    Lowe's Iris

They also tend to offer you app control as well as remote control capabilities which gives you absolute convenience. This is a pain-point for many and the main problem solved by home automation systems.

Retrofit Devices

The other option you have is to go for retrofit devices which tend to work well as automated blinds but come with an assortment of challenges. For starters, to turn these retrofit devices into smart blinds, you have to feed blind strings into an app operated motor. While this might sound easy enough for DIY enthusiasts, the fact that you will need continuous loop chain blinds is a little problematic. Not only are they expensive, but they tend to get jammed a lot. Generally speaking. However, retrofit devices are a bit more affordable than motorized shades.

The Best-Automated Blinds Review

1. MySmartBlinds

One of the biggest names in the automated shades industry, MySmartBlinds Automation Kit was initially on Kickstarter where more than 300 backers pledged to give the project around $85,000 to get it started. It features a smart motor that is designed to work with almost every tilting mechanism in the market.

The MySmartBlinds Automation Kit is well thought out and even leaves room for future expansion sensors by including additional ports. Powered by long-life batteries that are also rechargeable. You can either charge these batteries automatically by using the MySmartBlinds Solar Panel or manually by using the MySmartBlinds Charging Cord, both of which are sold separately.

One of the biggest advantages that come with MySmartBlinds is that they are easy to install (should take you just over 15 minutes). You are, however, advised not to rush the process and to read each instruction carefully.

As soon as you have the MySmartBlinds Automation Kit installed, you will immediately take full control of your shades as you can either use an Android App or the MySmartBlinds Wireless Smart Switch to get things rolling.

Automated Blinds-Privacy When You Want It

MySmartBlinds Automation Kit Pros

  • It is easy to install.
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    You can control your blinds via the App or the Wireless Smart Switch.
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    The App can easily sync changes from several users on the same account.
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    You can quickly open and close your blinds via Smart Position shortcuts.
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    The system allows for gradually tilting the blinds so that they produce almost no noise.

MySmartBlinds Automation Kit Cons

  • DIY installations can go wrong very quickly.
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    The battery charging mechanisms are sold separately.

All in all, the MySmartBlinds Automation Kit is one of the most popular options in the market today. The fact that they are both affordable and easy to use makes them perfect for those who are not afraid to do a bit of DIY installation.

2. Lutron Serena

As one of the big players in the home automation industry, Lutron does not take any shortcuts when it comes to providing their customers with absolute quality. There are three main reasons why the Lutron Serena smart blinds option is appealing to most:

Lutron Serena Pros

  • You can make a complete order online covering everything you may need from shade styles, type of window, fabric, and type of remote.
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    They are the only wireless smart shades that can be controlled using Apple's Siri or any other voice command system as long as you buy the Lutron Caseta hub. The best part is that this hub controls Lutron's smart lighting as well.
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    You can install it yourself.

Lutron Serena Cons

  • The installation process can be strenuous.
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    You need to buy the Lutron Caseta hub to get the full value.
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    The controller makes it very difficult to operate the shades in the dark.

Perhaps the most considerable thing that Lutron did here is to ensure that the ordering process starts from a decor point of view. This might not sound like much to those who are only interested in the mechanics of it all, but for those who are keen on the way their home looks as well as on the convenience their home automation systems give them, Lutron Serena is just perfect.

3. Neo Smart Blinds

As mentioned earlier, the ability to connect with other smart home automation systems such as Amazon Echo or Google Home is integral to getting the best out of your automated blinds. Neo Smart Blinds is one of the best options when it comes to that sort of pairing connection. With their Wi-Fi connected system and App operation, you have an easy to use option that pairs well with most home automated systems in the market today.

Neo Smart Blinds come with a Controller, solar panel chargers, tubular motors and a well-developed App that allows you to have remote control of your shades. This App can easily communicate with the Neo Controller which in turn allows you to create automated weekly schedules for your blinds.

Neo Smart Blinds Pros

  • They are very easy to install.
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    They do not have any hidden monthly charges.
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    They can pair well with most home automation systems.
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    The App allows for easy remote control of the blinds.
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    You can easily set-up automatic weekly schedules for your blinds even if you won't be home.

Neo Smart Blinds Cons

  • The self-installation process can get complicated if you are not handy with this sort of thing.

The CEO who is Neo Zhang has a lot of years of sales and marketing under his belt. He is determined to bring his customers an excellent automated blinds option that is not only affordable but also very convenient and well designed.

4. Hunter Douglas PowerView

This is arguably the most technologically adept option on this list. Not only can you operate these sophisticated blinds using an App on your smartphone, but the system also comes with a pair of Pebble remote controllers. While the App is quite convenient in its own right, it is the Pebble remotes that give you the most control over your shades. Through the 'Pebble Remote Control' (the easier one of the two to use), you can set-up as well as easily control six single-button 'Scenes' that can be pre-set. This allows you to have different combinations as far as shade positions are concerned. Each one of these scenes can be activated at any given time of the day based on what you want: light, room ambiance or privacy. The second remote option, 'Pebble Scene Controller', has a small LED screen that displays a preview of the already programmed scenes.

Unlike the other automated blinds on this list, the Hunter Douglas PowerView is not a DIY kind of window treatment. You will need to have a professional installer come out. These are individuals who are authorized dealers of the solution and know exactly what they are doing so there is minimal chance of any mistakes occurring.

Automated Blinds-Privacy When You Want It

Hunter Douglas PowerView Pros

  • It is easy to operate.
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    You can set up 'Scenes' according to your desires.
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    You can either use the available remote controllers or the smartphone App.
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    It is designed to work perfectly with most home automation systems including Creston, Savant, Elan, and Control4.

Hunter Douglas PowerView Cons

  • You cannot install it yourself.
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    The 'Scenes' set-up might seem a little complicated for those who are not tech savvy.

By far one of the most advanced options here, the Hunter Douglas PowerView is perfect for those who are fully invested in creating a fully automated and smart home.

Advantages of Having Automated Blinds Installed in Your Home

The very first thing that most people look for when investing in a smart home automation system is what kind of benefits it will bring to their homes. While things like the Nest Thermostat save you money on energy bills and smart lighting options increase your home security, the benefits associated with automated blinds may not be immediately apparent. But if you look at it keenly, you will see why you should strongly consider having automated blinds installed in your home. These include:

  • They will reduce the chances of your getting robbed when you travel: The biggest issue with most homeowners when they travel is whether or not their homes will be safe without them. It is a well-known fact that unoccupied homes present an irresistible temptation for burglars. That is why you should invest in automated blinds. These shades can be programmed to open and close at automatically scheduled times of the day and night. If you pair this with automated lighting systems, you will give the illusion of being at home even when you travel, and this will make burglars think twice before attempting to break in.
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    They give you total privacy: If you live in an apartment block, you know that privacy is paramount as nosy neighbors always try to peer into your home and make uninformed judgments about your quality of life. With smart blinds, you can automatically schedule them to close when your neighbors and their kids get home even if you are not there.
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    They will help you save some money on your A/C bill: During summer, your electric bill will go up as your HVAC system tries to maintain your home's ideal temperature. The same will happen during winter as well. With smart blinds, you can program them to close during the day to preserve the heat or conditioning in your home thus keeping your bill low.

Whether you get something that pairs perfectly with your sophisticated home automation system or you get automated blinds that operate independently, having these kinds of blinds clearly has some value. The question now remains, which automated blinds will you choose?

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