Amazon Alexa is based on a voice recognition technology called Amazon Alexa which is also embedded in other Amazon products such as Amazon Dot.
Your wish is its command.. you just have to overcome a slight sense of self consciousness and ask!
So the burning question... Can we add automated blinds from Newblinds to that list of compatable devices? Can we ask Amazon Alexa to close the blinds?
In terms of controlling blinds directly from Amazon Echo - There is currently not a blind motor which can be paired directly with Amazon Alexa devices.
Luckily, there are starting to emerge a number of low cost home automation solutions that can be connected to Alexa. These home automation systems act as a "bridge" between your blinds and Alexa. Depending on which "bridge" system you choose, the connection with Alexa ranges from being "out of the box" to more convoluted "work arounds" which are extremely effective but require a bit of patience.
So, it's a case of connecting your Alexa device (such as Dot or Echo) with an of Home Automation technology and then using that technology as a bridge to control the blinds. So that, in simple terms, you can say..
"Alexa.. Bedroom Blinds On" ... like this....
I'll give an overiew of how this might work below below and some resources for those of you who would like to dig further:
Somfy Radio (RTS) + Somfy TaHoma: Actually, I may be jumping the gun on this by a few weeks (as at 5th Nov 2017), but Somfy are promising a new firmware upgrade for their smart home system, TaHoMa in the next few weeks. This will allow a direct connection with Amazon Alexa. Existing users of the Tahoma system will receive this upgrade automatically, as well as new users. I'm told that this means that any device controllable via TaHoMa will be controllable via Alexa with a simple "out of the box" set up routine. So, we're talking about being able to voice control any of the Radio operated blinds in the Electric Blinds department of our online shop, along with curtain rails, gate and garage doors, Phillips Hue and much more. In addition to Somfy Blinds, you can also buy Somfy TaHoMa directly from us for only £249. A benefit of using Tahoma to integrate with Alexa is that you can use any method of powering the blinds that are available with Somfy motors - disposable batteries, rechargeable batteries, solar powered battery, 24vDC and 230vAC. If you go for battery power, it's a completely wireless solution which is great for retro-fitting. Somfy Tahoma, simply plugs into your router and requires a 3-pin power plug. Somfy TaHoMa sends commands received from Alexa using Radio signals to the blinds. In addition to Alexa integration, TaHoMa also enables control of devices via a web or mobile app interface, creation of scheduled events and also "What if" scenarios.
230vAC Relay Operated Blinds + Fibaro: Another home technology that we come accross frequently is Fibaro. They have a relay unit which is compatible with our 230v Relay Operated Roller Blinds, which is in turn controlled wirelessly from a central hub called the Home Centre. Again, Fibaro can control all manner of devices, not just blinds and is app enabled. The road to integration with Echo is a little less well travelled, at least by less technical people like myself. There is no official integration but it is possible if you are willing and able to get hands-on with the technology. You can read here a forum post on this topic.
Samsung Smart Things: Unfortunately, this is one for our US readers only, at least for the time being. Somfy have motor out in the states which is native z-wave, which obviously simplifies things massively. This z-wave motor is controlled directly by Smart Things and the Smart Things hub takes commands from Amazon Echo, as demonstrated in the video below - pretty neat, eh?
Ok, so that's my updated explanation of blind control using Amazon Alexa .This is a constantly evolving technology ecosystem and those who read the original article will testify that quite a lot has changed in the last 6 months! Things are definitely likely to continue to change over the next year or so, as new and dominant home control technologies emerge and shading motor manufacturers find ways to more easily integrate their products natively.
I'd be pleased to learn about any other ideas that you all have. Just drop me a line on Tim.Pendleton@newblinds.co.uk if you have any further suggestions or need assistance with integrating our shading (which you can buy online, by the way) with any home or building control Technology - it's what we do best!