iPhone, ipad, smartphone and tablets are increasingly being used to control elements of our home – from audio-video equipment to central heating and security. As a result, we at NewBlinds.co.uk are increasingly being asked whether it’s possible to control our electric blinds using mobile apps?
This article provides 4 different ways in which electric blinds can be controlled via mobile app. There is an option for every pocket and varying levels of sophistication are available including smart homes/AV system integration.
First though, what are the benefits of controlling your blinds using a smart phone, ipad, ipod or tablet?
Have you ever sat down, after a long day at work, switched the television on only to find that irritating beam of light blocking your screen?
Or let’s say you’ve just got to work, having woken up late, you were in a rush. As you grab your morning coffee you realise that all your blinds were still closed from the night.
Both can be resolved just by the tap of your phone or tablet! And let’s face it, these days, who goes anywhere without their phone!?
Furthermore timed control can be introduced for simulated presence, privacy and security when you are away from home just for the day or for longer periods of time. Sensor driven control is an extension of this and can derive benefits such as glare/heat control plus energy savings.
Exciting eh? Here are 4 ways of making this a reality:
1) Somfy RTS motors + AppyBlinds
The AppyBlinds solution consists of the AppyHub which plugs into your existing internet router, the AppyTransmitter and an smartphone or tablet app which can be downloaded from your app store of choice. You can control up to 30 blinds or 30 groups of Somfy RTS enabled blinds independently... Affordably brilliant. This can be expanded to control other home products.
2) Elero Motors + Centero Controller
A more expensive controller, but you are certainly getting what you pay for. This is specifically designed for operation of Elero branded radio operated blinds. Again the controller plugs into your internet router and enables control of large numbers or blinds with Elero Radio enabled motors. The neat thing about Elero motors is that they pass radio signal to each other. So if a blind is out of range the signal gets passed from one blind to another to reach the ‘out of range’ blind. It also passes a "message received" signal back, so that the user gets confirmation that the blind has been operated. This can be expanded to control other Elero Radio enabled products including lighting.
3) Somfy RTS + Somfy RS485 Transmitter + Smart Homes System
This is entering the realms of full home automation (pricey, we know). A prerequisite for this is that the user has a compatible AV system or smart homes system installed, such as Control4 and Crestron. These systems control many facets of the home blinds being just one of them.
The Somfy RS485 RTS transmitter plugs into the AV or smarthomes system. Commands from the smart homes system are passed from the transmitter to the blinds. It can also control other Somfy RTS enabled products, of which there are many e.g lighting, gates, garage doors, awnings, curtain rails, window openers etc.
It used to be that Smart homes systems would be provided with branded tablets or wall panels akin to an ipad. These days many smart homes systems have compatible smartphone or tablet apps.
4) Wired Motor + Smarthomes system
This system is similar to the above. Again we are assuming that a smart home, AV system or Building Management System is already in place to act as the control hub. This time the motors are wired to and controlled by relays.
For the first of these two options, we can offer a full solution, however for the last two we can only supply the blinds but can often recommend an installer for the Smart Homes or AV system.
UPDATE: We can now offer affordable "out of the box" control of Somfy RTS Enabled blinds by mobile app using two new systems - Somfy TaHoMa (only £249) and Somfy Connexoon (just £149). We’ll shortly release an article concentrating on each options ins and outs, faults and pros – so stay tuned!