Curtains Up!

The curtains and blinds industry enormously contributed to the “smart revolution”, by integrating technology with the regular window coverings.

Curtains and blinds have always been one of the primary and crucial design elements for interiors of all kinds, be it residential, commercial, hospitality or even educational. The reason behind their significance is not just the aesthetics, but also the whole range of conveniences these offer the users. In the generation of rapidly evolving technology, changing work culture and priorities, people look for convenience in almost all aspects of life. From wearables like watches, sunglasses, to appliances and electronic items like televisions, air conditioners, fans, refrigerators, ovens, coffee makers and water purifiers, everything is getting backed with smart technology to precisely define the word “luxury” and “accessibility” to the consumers. 

David Parrett, Product Marketing Director, Somfy, North America

Smart blinds, shades and curtains are window coverings that can be opened and closed not just by a remote control, but also by a smartphone app or with voice commands. They can also typically be configured with various levels of automation. Weather sensors can detect temperature and determine whether smart shades should be opened to let in the sun and the heat, or closed to help keep a room cooler, and automatically execute those commands. Smart window treatments can also be grouped (usually per room) and configured to open and close on automated schedules (such as sunrise or sunset) for added convenience”, says David Parrett, Product Marketing Director, Somfy, North America. “Also, there can be a degree of energy savings when using smart window treatments. For example, keeping them closed during the summer can help reduce heat gain (limiting use of HVAC systems), and keeping them open during sunny winter days can assist in keeping a room more comfortable”, adds David Parrett.

Jaspreet Singh Bhatia, Vice President, Hogar Controls

Smart Blinds or Curtains: You Choose!

Where curtains can perfectly create an ambient atmosphere at homes, blinds have always been a part of rooms that require a complete obstruction of sunlight for certain reasons. Many offices with most people working on computers, modern-day classrooms with projectors and today, home cinema rooms prefer complete blackout blinds. Speaking about the disparity between curtains and blinds,Jaspreet Singh Bhatia, Vice President, Hogar Controls, explains, “Curtains are mainly found in homes whereas blinds’ applications are mainly in commercial or office spaces. Curtains are automated horizontally (left and right) whereas blinds operate vertically (up and down motion). The motor and setup changes in these applications. There are various kinds of different applications of curtain and blinds to choose from according to your space requirements – Curtains (Regular pleated curtain, ripple) and Blinds (Roller Blinds, Venetian Blinds, Zebra Blinds, Honeycomb blinds etc)”.

This is mostly a case of style, home decor and personal preference! Smart curtains and smart blinds/shades have similar functionality but different looks. Smart curtains open from side-to-side while smart shades move up and down and smart blinds tilt open or closed. Sometimes homeowners actually layer smart curtains over smart blinds or shades for a multi-faceted look. The choice between smart curtains and blinds/shades is all about the homeowner’s preference”, conveyed David Parrett.

Venkatesh V, Executive Director, WCP Business – India, Hunter Douglas India Pvt. Ltd

Further differentiating smart blinds and curtains, Venkatesh V, Executive Director, WCP Business – India, Hunter Douglas India Pvt. Ltd says,curtains are traditional Window Covering Products due to lack of full functionality. Smart blinds have the functionality of light control and privacy control both at the same time. Today customers expect to have all the home gadgets connected to the internet for ultimate comfort, customized as per the needs. All these qualities can be sufficed by a smart window covering blind compared to a curtain”.

Attributes & Flaws

Like all smart devices, smart curtains and blinds are, fundamentally, energy-efficient and convenient. “Any kind of smart control of electronic devices is friendly in terms of energy savings as it helps control (switch on/off) your devices from anywhere in the world. Suppose you have left any normal switch ON and left home for office only to come back home in the evening (an entire day’s energy wasted on the switch) vs switching off the smart switch remotely which helps saving time and energy”, concedes Jaspreet Singh Bhatia.

Smart blinds can be programmed in a way that they get the perfect light and heat to maintain the temperatures resulting in proper utilisation of artificial lights and cooling devices. Hunter Douglas Window Covering Blinds with the above-mentioned functionality helps the consumers to conserve sufficient energy”, explains Venkatesh V.

These can be locally or remotely controlled via smartphones, tablets or voice-bots, like Alexa and Google Assistant, with voice commands or scheduled to open or close during specific times like after sunrise/sunset or as per the user’s wish. Also, smart curtains can be set up to be in motion at the user’s absence, to deceive the trespassers by indicating the presence of someone at home. With heat and light-sensing capacity, these can move automatically as temperature and daylight change, leading to a sufficient amount of energy conservation. Smart curtains and blinds seamlessly blend with one’s lifestyle and offer a harmonious life by waking him/her up with the soft morning rays of the sun and retaining his/her privacy at night. Numerous apps are available for both Android and iOS users that enable the users to create scenes and set timers to their smart curtains and blinds. Automation has become a common terminology for home décor these days. However, specialised automation protocol for window covering products is still a unique concept in the industry. “Imagine your window shades automatically open with the rising sun and make you wake up naturally instead of the blaring alarm which rattles you out of sleep grumpily. In the evening as it gets darker, the shades close magically letting you enjoy complete privacy. The craving for a perfect ambience throughout the day is the idea that led to the creation of PowerView Automation. You only need to program PowerView once and set preferred scene settings which will allow you to enjoy the desired morning, afternoon, evening or night positioning of your window shades. With the integrated PowerView Automation mobile App you can remotely operate the window shades and create customized scenes by setting the positions for your window shades. Once the settings are saved, the system can automatically repeat them every day. It offers an option of operating the blinds through voice commands as well.   Hunter Douglas window covering blinds with PowerView Automation is an epitome of modern technology. It creates a magical experience for your home through the advanced automation features and is the perfect hands-free way to control the flow of natural light into your house”, adds Venkatesh V

“The initial cost of ownership for smart window coverings is higher than manual versions due to the motors and smart components that provide increased functionality and convenience. However, for those homeowners wanting to create a smarter, more convenient home, the benefits are more than worth the investment”, adds David Parrett.

Technology Used and the Latest innovations

“The typical architecture consists of a connection (either wired or wireless) between the motorized shades and a gateway device. The gateway device connects the control system for the shades with third party smart home automation systems to enable “smart” controls such as voice commands and automated schedules”, explains Parrett.

The industry is creating an increased number of connection points between motorized window coverings and smart home automation systems to create smarter, more comfortable homes. Tying motorized shades to third party systems enables motorized blinds and shades to become a true component of the automated smart home.In addition, more products are now available with battery options, including lithium-ion rechargeable batteries. This enables more consumers to implement motorized window coverings with minor retrofitting rather than going through the hassle of major renovations”, adds David Parrett.


Essentially, these comprise built-in motors that allow one to add remote lifting or lowering capabilities, as per the schedules set. “Smart Curtains are not exactly mean curtains that have a mind of their own, but it means curtains that are automated and controlled by smart motors either with Wi-Fi or Z-Wave technology protocol”, affirms Jaspreet Singh Bhatia “In today’s COVID world, where most people are working from home, stay indoors for the maximum time, and hence want to upgrade their homes to feel luxurious and good about themselves. Hence “smartifying” homes is the new trend”, adds Jaspreet Singh Bhatia.

Today, any kind of application of curtains or blinds can now be automated, whether it is regular curtains, ripple fold, Roller Blinds, Venetian Blinds, Zebra Blinds, Honeycomb blinds etc. With the advancement of technology, even sunroof shades can be turned smart these days. “There is no better way than to completely indulge in the technological boons for smart homes. The new smart home concept is the latest buzz in the home decor world. With all the hype around smart homes, why not utilize technology in every aspect of your house decor, including window blinds. Automated Window Covering Blind is one such smart invention that can make your life easier and more relaxed. In addition to functionality smart window covering blinds can enhance the aesthetic appeal of the home décor”, says Venkatesh V.

Speaking about the integrity of smart window coverings, David Parrett says, “the initial cost of ownership for smart window coverings is higher than manual versions due to the motors and smart components that provide increased functionality and convenience. For those homeowners wanting to create a smarter, more convenient home, the benefits are more than worth the investment”.

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