This Nifty Device Turns Ordinary Roller Blinds into Smart Blinds
With people spending more time at home, we are seeing a surge in homeowners making improvements to their living environment. And nothing says improvement like kitting out your home with smart home devices to optimise and streamline your physical space, solve common inconveniences and to improve your overall lifestyle.
Some smart home devices are pretty gimmicky, we’ll have to admit. But then there are innovations like the Aqara Smart Roller Shade Controller that almost feels essential once you have it installed in your home.
What is this Controller you speak of?
The Aqara Smart Roller Shade Controller is a smart electric motor that enables you to control your roller blinds remotely. It essentially serves as a retrofit solution to turn ordinary roller blinds into smart ones.
This device doesn’t only work with roller blinds though so you don’t have to be restricted to just a single type of blinds or design. It functions with a wide variety of indoor blinds, from combi/rainbow blinds, which are great for offering more precise light and privacy control, to honeycomb/cellular blinds that come with heat insulation properties.
The device works with a variety of indoor blinds, including combi/rainbow blinds such as this.
Image courtesy of Versaform
And if you are thinking of setting up a smart home cinema, the Aqara Smart Roller Shade Controller also works with projector screens to elevate your home movie experience to the next level.
With blinds that have slats such as venetian blinds, you will want to take note that while the device is able to control up and down movements, it will not be able to adjust the individual slats.
How easy is it to install it yourself?
Each box comes with the motor, a remote control, the bolt and a circlip. Your window blinds will require a hollow tube/rod to work as the motor is inserted into the tube. Your blinds will also come with installation brackets, a bottom frame and the frame end caps to complete your installation.
The device works for tubes that are 35mm in diameter, although it will also function for larger diameters as long as you have the right adapters (a crown, runner and end cap).
The device is inserted into the roller tube.
It doesn’t matter how long the length of the tube is, as long as your window blinds don’t exceed a weight of 30kg. You will also need an outlet to power the motor.
Installation is relatively straightforward and can be done yourself with the right tools. This installation video provides a great step-by-step guide:
Not particularly savvy with DIY projects? You can always engage the help of professionals. Aqara’s local partner, The Trade Gallery, sells the device and also provides professional installation services.
How do we integrate it with our smart home ecosystem?
The whole idea of having a smart home is that you want everything to be able to talk to each other so that you can fully enjoy the benefits associated with smart living. So it’s a wonderful thing then that the Aqara Smart Roller Shade Controller is compatible with a wide range of smart home ecosystems.
The device communicates via a Zigbee network, which, to the uninitiated, serves as a wireless alternative to WiFi and Bluetooth. One of the main advantages of Zigbee compared with other smart home protocols is that it is more power efficient and it also doesn’t take up additional WiFi bandwidth. Zigbee is also highly responsive and reliable, working even when the Internet is down or your home network is unstable.
You will first need to pair the Controller with an Aqara Hub, which is sold separately. Depending on the type of Aqara Hub you get, you are able to set up different tasks and actions.
The Hub M1S for instance comes with an in-built illumination sensor, so you can set things up such that when it gets too bright in the room, your now smart blinds will automatically adjust to block off a certain percentage, say 50%, of light that comes in.
The Aqara Hub M1S comes with an in-built illumination sensor.
And then there’s Hub E1, which lets you link up with motion sensors (sold separately). So if no motion is detected in the room for a certain amount of time, say you set it for 10 minutes, your smart blinds will automatically come down on its own after this time.
Once you’ve paired the device up with an Aqara Hub of your choice, you can then control your window blinds through the Aqara Home app (available on iOS and Android), or integrate it into an existing third-party ecosystem in your home. Currently, it works with Apple HomeKit, Google Home and IFTTT.
Control over the window blinds can also be done through the available voice-control assistants in your smart home system or through a physical remote control.
For those who are thinking of investing in a few smart home devices from Aqara, the Aqara Cube is a useful remote control. This tiny cube-shaped gadget comes with six gestures that you can programme to link with specific actions. For instance, if you are using it to control your smart blinds, you can programme it such that shaking the Aqara Cube will either open or close your blinds.
The Aqara Cube can be used to control your smart blinds remotely.
How can having smart blinds improve my life?
By integrating the Aqara Smart Roller Shade Controller into your smart home system to turn your ordinary roller blinds into smart ones, you are essentially making life easier and just that bit more indulgent. Surely we all need that extra pampering!
Here are ways it can streamline and improve everyday living:
- Comfort: No more having to get up and down from the comfort of the couch or struggle with your cords to draw your blinds. Just call out to Google or Siri to adjust your blinds whenever you need privacy for getting dressed or to brighten your home office when it’s work-from-home hours.
- Protection: For windows that are east or west facing, you may get the brunt of the morning or afternoon sun coming in. Prolonged sun exposure can wear down your furniture and furnishings causing fading or cracks, so you could always pre-set schedules and have your window blinds closed during certain hours.
- Convenience: Have large or wide windows or just have too many windows? Installing the window blinds with the Aqara Smart Roller Shade Controller will definitely make things easier whenever you need to open or close the blinds.
- Better Health: Smart blinds can also serve as a natural alarm clock. You can sync it to open at sunrise (and lower it at dusk) so you wake up naturally when the light hits the room. Studies have shown waking up according to your body’s natural circadian rhythms can be much healthier than waking up to the sounds of your phone’s alarm.
- Luxury: Need to get the room ready for movie night, but have your hands full preparing snacks? You can always create a ‘Movie Night’ scene on your Apple HomeKit that automatically brings down your projector screen, switches from the day blinds to the night/blackout blinds, and kickstarts Netflix for you.
Image courtesy of D5 Studio Image
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Aqara is also offering a special bundle deal just for professional installers, contractors and interior designers. To learn more or to sign up, visit this page.
This post is brought to you by Aqara.