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Dutch company Coulisse is working with Eve Systems to launch a range of HomeKit-compatible smart window covering motors.

coulisse-blinds-HomeKit-nw-fi-thread.jpg

According to HomeKit News, the new range will include wireless motors to work with roller blinds, Venetian blinds, cellular shades and curtains. Notably, they will also be the first product of their kind to support the Thread wireless protocol, of which Apple is a supporter.

Thread is a low-power IP-based networking technology for connecting Internet of Things (IoT) devices, offering a secure, mesh-based system that makes it easy to build an ecosystem of devices. Eve plans to help to equip the Coulisse curtains with HomeKit and Thread integration and to spread them in a wider market.
"Thanks to the Eve software, this new motor range is a game changer in the interior window coverings market," said Christiaan Roetgering, owner and CEO of Coulisse. "The simplicity of both installation and use is unmatched. All complexity is eliminated, and the installation time drastically reduced. Combined with the fact that you don't need a hub anymore this offers major cost advantages. It opens up the way to make motorized blinds available to a broad audience and widely embraced as a product that brings joy and value to everyday life in the home."
While Thread is essentially agnostic to the application layers that run on top of it, it can support multiple layers and may play a role in Project Connected Home over IP, the alliance of Apple, Amazon, Google, and other companies that is seeking to make it simpler to build devices compatible with multiple ecosystems such as Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant.

The HomePod mini is Apple's first (and currently only) product to support Thread networking technology. For the time being, however, Apple says in a footnote that ‌HomePod mini‌'s Thread support is limited to HomeKit devices, so the technology can't yet be leveraged cross-platform and it remains to be seen how Apple will embrace Thread going forward.

Apple is a noted supporter of the Thread project, with longtime Apple engineer Stuart Cheshire, who developed the Rendezvous/Bonjour zero-configuration standard nearly 20 years ago, serves as a director of Thread Group.

Coulisse is keen to emphasize how secure the combination of HomeKit and Thread is, since they be can linked with other HomeKit products and all data is stored locally. The roller blinds can be connected via Bluetooth, but Thread should in theory offer a more resilient connection by linking up with nearby Thread-supporting "hubs" such as a HomePod mini.

According to iCulture, the roller blind motors will be launched in the second quarter of 2021. More information on the Coulisse range of products can be found on their website.

Article Link: Eve and Coulisse Join Forces to Launch First Thread-Enabled HomeKit Blinds
 
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mark-in-mk

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Mar 24, 2011
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"Interior Window Coverings" ! A Marketing departments answer to "What shall we call our blinds ? "
 
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bergert

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Jun 24, 2008
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Roller blinds with WiFi and batteries - so everyone can install it?

Once you run a cable, you can just as well use the same cable to control the blinds. WTF?
 
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justperry

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Aug 10, 2007
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"Interior Window Coverings" ! A Marketing departments answer to "What shall we call our blinds ? "

Worse, did you check out their website, it's all glitter but no information where to buy, WTF.
Worse, I am Dutch by origin, never heard of them.

Roller blinds with WiFi and batteries - so everyone can install it?

Once you run a cable, you can just as well use the same cable to control the blinds. WTF?

Huh, most houses don't have cable running to their Windows, a battery solution is the way to go.

But...I was in the market for such shades last year, there seems to be no perfect solution, some high end have battery casing behind the shades, not built in, or have them built in with older Battery tech in them, no Lithium Ion, or have to remove the complete unit to charge them.


Coulisse seems to have them built in, with a USB port for charging, most times recharging is done 1 or twice a year, that is, if there's lithium batteries in them and if you don't open them more then 2-3 times a day.


Edit: Might be (very) high end, need to register for information....hmmm.
 
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4jasontv

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Jul 31, 2011
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Roller blinds with WiFi and batteries - so everyone can install it?

Once you run a cable, you can just as well use the same cable to control the blinds. WTF?
it would be optimal for rentals. The big issue would be window compatibility. Regular blinds can be adjusted to fit whatever size window you might now have, but these smart blinds are typically built for one size.

* where I live rentals do not include hardware on windows and rental turnover is just over two years.
 
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CJ Dorschel

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This is a much welcomed game changer. Currently, smart shade motors are bulky and unless you have electrical work done to power a room they require batteries that don’t last long and result in a large valence. I have solar shades on a Control4 system in Berlin but would love to integrate my shades with HomeKit. The only smart shade offerings Stateside Shades by Lutron and IKEA has entered the market. most need custom sizes which IKEA doesn’t offer. I priced out a few simply solar shades on Serena’s site and was floored - a simple 44” x 36” picture window came out to $700 with a motorized battery powered valance. I already have the Lutron Smart Hub Pro.

I know it’s a first world problem but shades can help reduce energy costs and I know quite a few who have been interested in getting smart shades but have held off until improvements in smart home tech can make the motorized mechanism smaller and more energy efficient while cutting costs.

Still can’t believe a motorized shade adds $300-350 per window. That’s obscene.
 
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CJ Dorschel

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it would be optimal for rentals. The big issue would be window compatibility. Regular blinds can be adjusted to fit whatever size window you might now have, but these smart blinds are typically built for one size.

* where I live rentals do not include hardware on windows and rental turnover is just over two years.
Exactly.

The other issue is most homes don’t have floor to ceiling windows that are all connected. in my Berlin home it’s different as it’s modern with large metal framed windows so I can wire the blinds together. My NY home is traditional with windows scattered and separate. One of my kitchen windows is surrounded by tiling and custom cabinetry. There’s no way to add an outlet unless I rip out tiling and cut into the cabinetry. The same for an cable for POE. The best option is a battery powered motorized shade.

When you have an existing build, having to wire shades puts you into the thousands - electrical work, drywall, painting, etc - then you add in the costs of the shades.
 
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LeadingHeat

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I’d pick up at least a half dozen of these, if not more. If they’re priced right.
 
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name99

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Jun 21, 2004
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I’d pick up at least a half dozen of these, if not more. If they’re priced right.
I don't think so, not yet. Look at the details.
All that's actually being announced is the smart motor. That's a start, but most people don't want to go to the hassle of either retrofitting that to existing blinds, or trying to figure out new blinds with which to pair it.
(Compare with MySmartBlinds which will, similarly, sell you a separate motor kit for existing venetian or roller blinds.)

What almost all people want is a total solution.
- Ikea wins there (modulo the total pain in the ass of their radio system and the awful incompetence of all the documentation surrounding it.)
- MySmartBlinds wins IF you buy their total Venetian Blind solution (Bluetooth only, no HomeKit support). Their RollerBlind solution seems inferior to Ikea in every way (not least that they never sold me one because they kept promising it wasn't available quite yet but soon would be).

I think even after these launch, we will need to wait at least six months for someone to come up with the total solution (ie pair and package them with appropriate blinds). By then will Ikea have got their act together wrt Thread? Will MySmartBlinds? Who knows...
 
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name99

macrumors 65816
Jun 21, 2004
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This is a much welcomed game changer. Currently, smart shade motors are bulky and unless you have electrical work done to power a room they require batteries that don’t last long and result in a large valence. I have solar shades on a Control4 system in Berlin but would love to integrate my shades with HomeKit. The only smart shade offerings Stateside Shades by Lutron and IKEA has entered the market. most need custom sizes which IKEA doesn’t offer. I priced out a few simply solar shades on Serena’s site and was floored - a simple 44” x 36” picture window came out to $700 with a motorized battery powered valance. I already have the Lutron Smart Hub Pro.

I know it’s a first world problem but shades can help reduce energy costs and I know quite a few who have been interested in getting smart shades but have held off until improvements in smart home tech can make the motorized mechanism smaller and more energy efficient while cutting costs.

Still can’t believe a motorized shade adds $300-350 per window. That’s obscene.

- Serena is CRAZY expensive. And in the US you can't really get them without speaking to a representative and getting your whole house custom-upgraded. Very much not for average folks!

- In the US MySmartBlinds are custom sized. I don't know if they ship to Europe. The Venetians are good -- IF Venetian is appropriate for your window (ie you don't open it). They provide a hub to bridge Bluetooth to WiFi, and if you have that hub you can control them with HomeKit via HomeBridge. I do this.
The blinds are ~$350 -- expensive for small windows, a good deal for very large windows! They come with solar rechargers which work well, at least in California.

- In the US Ikea are not custom sized BUT they are rollers (so can handle anything from short to very tall windows), and they come in a range of widths which seem appropriate for every US window I've encountered. They may not be acceptable if your are obsessive about absolute blackout of all light even at mid-day, but they've been perfectly good for my needs. Again if you have the Ikea Hub, you can bridge them via HomeBridge.
Ikea are about $120 for the narrowest width (17"?) and get more expensive as you go wider (up to 48"? I can't remember). Ikea come with USB-rechargeable batteries that seem to last six months or so.

Ikea blinds are surprising light. Enough so that you might almost think you could mount them in a rental using double-sided tape (if that's acceptable to the owner). I tried that and it worked for a few months but wasn't quite good enough, so I did things correctly and drilled small holes for the mounts.
Ikea are very easy and flexible to mount.

MySmartBlinds are a lot heavier and while, in theory easy to mount (the mounting system is, to be fair, well-designed) on a wide window you may want two or even three pairs of hands because of the weight.


To anyone thinking of buying these, I'd say wait until at least Thread is available.
- The control aspects (HomeBridge, using the godawful HomeKit Automation UI) are adequate today. Not great, but adequate, good enough to give you automation achieving what you mostly want (for me that's energy saving, and for one window sun tracking) BUT
- The radio aspects are miserable. You need more stupid damn hubs everywhere (I have the Ikea and MySmartBlinds Hub). The MySmartBlinds hub is barely adequate to the task (Bluetooth just does not have the range required for many houses). The Ikea hub has the range, but dealing with Zigbee is so freaking painful! It's magic when it works, but when the mesh fails as it does every few months, it's horrible to debug, and Ikea's particular implementation with blinds, hubs, and remote controls all involved is a UI nightmare. I'm sure it sounded great in the presentations ("cheap!", "guests can easily control devices!") but in practice pairing blinds in particular is far too finicky and will have you weeping in frustration.
And Ikea do a lousy job of warning you that batteries are low in any device...

My hope is that once Thread is doing the radio work
- we can get rid of the stupid per-company hubs
- the radio range will be further
- mesh'ing will be done via Thread devices, and will be reliable
which will get rid of about 50% of the pain points today (and at least provide the possibility of a centralized location [NOT a per-company app!!!] to indicate things like FW updates and battery issues.
 
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DeepIn2U

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Roller blinds with WiFi and batteries - so everyone can install it?

Once you run a cable, you can just as well use the same cable to control the blinds. WTF?

Not everyone has the skills to do this on their own OR can modify existing wiring in their condos/apartments to hide wires behind walls/etc.

I like these blinds will have to search for them, I don't need this homekit enabled - I don't want to have that full Tony Stark life, but having said 1-night stand along with the trash taken out (IronMan 1) ... that I could enjoy ;) (being cheeky).
 
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name99

macrumors 65816
Jun 21, 2004
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Worse, did you check out their website, it's all glitter but no information where to buy, WTF.
Worse, I am Dutch by origin, never heard of them.



Huh, most houses don't have cable running to their Windows, a battery solution is the way to go.

But...I was in the market for such shades last year, there seems to be no perfect solution, some high end have battery casing behind the shades, not built in, or have them built in with older Battery tech in them, no Lithium Ion, or have to remove the complete unit to charge them.


Coulisse seems to have them built in, with a USB port for charging, most times recharging is done 1 or twice a year, that is, if there's lithium batteries in them and if you don't open them more then 2-3 times a day.


Edit: Might be (very) high end, need to register for information....hmmm.

MySmartBlinds have a battery which connects to a solar charger. In California this seems to be good enough for all my windows. For other localities it may not work for certain windows depending on angle and shade.
Ikea have a nice battery pack that easily pops out of the top of the blind, is charged via USB, and lasts at least 6 months in my experience.
Some vendors seem to build the battery pack into the blind which (IMHO) is not idea because then you have to snake a cable up there and you need a long USB charging cable; the Ikea solution seems better.

I'd say as a realistic issue batteries are a solved problem. Not that ALL vendors have solve this -- many are truly dumb, ranging from using 12 A batteries to forcing you to run a long cable to charge. But the problem IS solvable in a way that works well (solar and/or removable battery pack), so just say no to vendors who can't get their act together on this.

Radio's have been much more of a problem, IMHO, which is why Thread is now so interesting.
 
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name99

macrumors 65816
Jun 21, 2004
1,002
661
Roller blinds with WiFi and batteries - so everyone can install it?

Once you run a cable, you can just as well use the same cable to control the blinds. WTF?
Yes, exactly: wifi and battery so you can install anywhere as a retrofit!

Smart Blinds are REALLY nice, every bit as nice as smart lighting. You automate them so that they open and close as appropriate (to control temperature, to provide light, to suppress sun glare) depending on the window, and then they're just there working every day to make your house nicer.

For the reasons I have described in comments above, I wouldn't recommend most people get them right now. But in two years or so, when Thread is widespread, absolutely!
I do recommend you do one window at a time, and think, for each window, what you want to achieve via automation. Is a roller or a venetian more appropriate? Or the cheapest solution of all -- buy a roll of electrostatic-cling film from amazon for $20 and slap that on the window. (Don't knock it, that stuff is magic! It works well, is easy to stick up, and solves many window problems.
eg, get the one that block UV and IR for your garage windows, and watch its temperature drop by 10 degrees. Or get a diffuser film to block a view that's ugly, while still letting in light.)
 
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justperry

macrumors G4
Aug 10, 2007
11,598
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I'm a rolling stone.
MySmartBlinds have a battery which connects to a solar charger. In California this seems to be good enough for all my windows. For other localities it may not work for certain windows depending on angle and shade.
Ikea have a nice battery pack that easily pops out of the top of the blind, is charged via USB, and lasts at least 6 months in my experience.
Some vendors seem to build the battery pack into the blind which (IMHO) is not idea because then you have to snake a cable up there and you need a long USB charging cable; the Ikea solution seems better.

I'd say as a realistic issue batteries are a solved problem. Not that ALL vendors have solve this -- many are truly dumb, ranging from using 12 A batteries to forcing you to run a long cable to charge. But the problem IS solvable in a way that works well (solar and/or removable battery pack), so just say no to vendors who can't get their act together on this.

Radio's have been much more of a problem, IMHO, which is why Thread is now so interesting.

The problem with Ikea's blinds is that they are not available for custom window sizes, that to me is a missed opportunity, they are cheap and I also like the drop in battery.
Yup, there are ones with non chargeable batteries, really dumb, or nimh batteries, while not that bad Li Ion would be far better.
I was looking into remotely managed solutions last year, too expensive (€300 extra per window) and none of them offered what I wanted, so, I chose manually ones, too bad.
 
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HiRez

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Jan 6, 2004
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Are these battery powered? I looked at a bunch of their pages and watched some videos and didn't see anything about how the power works. It's probably there and I missed it but I don't see it. If there is a battery option, what is the battery life?
 
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calderone

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Aug 28, 2009
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- Serena is CRAZY expensive. And in the US you can't really get them without speaking to a representative and getting your whole house custom-upgraded. Very much not for average folks!

Just wanted to say, I don't completely agree with this assessment. Yes, they are expensive for some. But you measure and order on their website and installation is very easy. There are generally local blind/shade vendors that can walk you through it and install them if desired.

Not to say it works for everyone, but I've had a positive experience with Serena and I would recommend them.
 
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