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If you are like most people, window blinds are probably the last thing that comes to mind when you hear about smart devices. Now imagine being able to turn your current blinds into smart ones. You would be able to open or close your blinds using your smartphone and somehow automate them.
MySmartBlinds makes this a reality.
There are two MySmartBlinds products available. The first one is for those who still do not have window blinds. The blinds cost $130 and can have an inside mount or outside mount. You can specify the width and the height and just add the smart automation device for $99. (check this listing for the latest live prices)
To charge the automation device, you can choose between a $45 solar panel or a charging cord priced at $14.
These shutter blinds are installed in just seconds and will snap into your window frames using friction, adhesives, or compression. Each slat is 2.5-inch wide and is made of top quality faux wood. All in all, you can get each window fitted for only $229.
If you already have blinds at home, you can just retrofit the MySmartBlinds Automation Kit, which costs only $99 (check this listing for the latest live prices). Yes, the Automation Kit can turn your existing blinds into smart ones in just a few minutes for less than $100.
The Automation Kit utilizes Bluetooth technology to help you control your blinds via your smartphone. The MySmartBlinds Automation Kit is compatible with horizontal blinds with slats measuring anywhere from two to three inches.
If you have vertical blinds, cordless lift blinds, roller shades, mini blinds or shutters, then you should look for something else.
Some of the brands that are fully compatible with the Automation kit include Hunter Douglas, Blinds.com, Kohl’s Factory Direct, Maxxmar, Blindster.com, JCPenney, Blindsgalore, and Home Decorators Collection, among many others.
On top of letting you shutter or open your blinds, the mobile app also allows you to create schedules. This means that at the appointed time, your blinds will automatically open or close even without you doing anything.
Some of the things that you can do with MySmartBlinds include:
- Wake up to natural sunlight in the morning as MySmartBlinds can open the blinds for you even when you are still asleep.
- Ensure utmost privacy when night falls as MySmartBlinds can close the blinds automatically when it is dark outside.
- Save on heating costs during the winter months as it can let the heat of the sun in by opening the blinds. In the same manner, you can save on cooling costs during the hot summer months by making sure the blinds are closed.
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What you would love about MySmartBlinds
MySmartBlinds does not have native integration with home automation systems right now, but it is expected to come up with native integration with Apple HomeKit and Amazon Echo soon. The good news is that you only need the smartphone app to control the MySmartBlinds Home Automation Kit.
Also, the option to have a solar panel would allow you to forget about charging the device.
Even so, a full battery could easily give you up to 12 months of operation, depending on the size of the blinds and how often you close or open it. Even if you have several windows with the MySmartBlinds automation kit, you can control everything using only one mobile app.
The mobile app can control eight blinds grouped together, and it has the capacity to manage four groups.
If you want other members of the household to have the ability to control your blinds, you can just have them download the mobile app to their devices. All configurations and schedules would show up on the mobile devices instantly.
Further, MySmartBlinds also has the sun tracking feature that adjusts your schedules according to the movement of the sun throughout the year. This means that you do not have to adjust your schedule in the winter when it gets dark earlier than it does in the summer.
MySmartBlinds works with your current blinds as long as it has horizontal slats. If you have an incompatible set of blinds, or if you do not have blinds yet, you can buy from the company. They offer horizontal blinds for $229 (check here) and it comes in two colors: walnut and white.
You can customize the width (from 21 to 74 inches) and the height (from 24 to 72 inches). You can also choose the type of mount you want, as well as the charging options for the lithium-ion battery.
You can also buy a solar panel, which would be a more cost-saving way to charge the lithium-ion battery. Or you can just buy a charging cord. The solar panel costs $45 (check here), while the cord sells for $14.00 (check here).
Taken together, if you choose to buy blinds and the solar panel with the automation kit, your entire layout would be $261 (check here for the latest price).
If you already have a compatible set of blinds, you only need to buy the Automation Kit, which sells for $144 (check here) with the solar panel included in the price.
Make your current blinds smart
If you currently own compatible blinds, then it should be very easy to make it smart with MySmartBlinds.
You only replace the cord mechanism with the automation kit’s motor, battery, and either the recharging power cord or the solar panel. Cut the cord and mount your blinds again. After pairing it with the mobile app, you can now control your blinds using the app.
Create a schedule
Using the mobile app, you can easily create schedules that your MySmartBlinds will follow. For instance, if you schedule it to open every day at 6 a.m., it will automatically open by itself at that time.
You can now leave the blinds to open or close by itself, allowing you to be more private at night and to wake up to sunlight in the morning.
Built-in temperature sensors
The MySmartBlinds uses embedded temperature sensors to know when to open or to close your blinds, depending on how warm or cold you want your room to be.
What could be better
MySmartBlinds uses Bluetooth technology, partly because this makes it easier to pair the device with your smartphone. However, it does mean that when you create a schedule, you need to be in Bluetooth range for the app to work.
MySmartBlinds has an onboard memory that remembers the schedule you set, making it possible to open and close the blinds according to the schedule even when your smartphone is out of range.
But when setting up the schedule, you would need to be within Bluetooth range so that the app would be able to upload the schedule and save it on the memory. It also means that you need to be within Bluetooth range to control your blinds on demand.
In short, you will not be able to close or open your blinds when you are not home. Another cause for disappointment is the price. You would need to install one Home Automation Kit for every set of blinds and if you have a lot of windows at home, that could prove to be very expensive.
The biggest drawback for MySmartBlinds is that most of its integrations are still in the planning stages. It does not offer any smart home integration, but integration with Amazon Alexa and SmartThings is in the pipeline.
There is also a plan to make MySmartBlinds detect temperature around the room and automatically open or close the blinds depending on the temperature reading. It might have been useful if there were some way to automate scheduling for MySmartBlinds.
For instance, it would be nice if MySmartBlinds is able to check your thermostat to see whether to close or open the blinds in order to cool or warm the room.
Also, IFTTT integration would have made it more useful. For instance, you could get an IFTTT recipe that would use your smartphone’s GPS location to determine if you are home or away, and have MySmartBlinds open or close your blinds automatically.
Or perhaps you could get a recipe that would check your calendar to see if you have soccer practice, a yoga class, or a dentist appointment, and automatically close the blinds for you.
Alternatives to MySmartBlinds
There are some other choices if you want to shop around for the best smart blinds. Somfy gives you a range of motorized window shades and blinds. These products range from having very silent motors to one with a noticeable noise, from budget-friendly to more expensive ones.
These connect to the myLink mobile app, allowing you to open or close your blinds no matter where you are in the world. It also integrates with Creston, Savant, and Control4 home automation platforms, allowing you to automate.
However, it does not integrate with the more popular smart home automation platforms such as SmartThings, HomeKit, or Nest.
Meanwhile, Lutron Serena has several remote controlled shades that you can install for every room in your house. You can choose from more than 150 different fabrics to help match your home’s style and decor. You can open or close the shades using an included remote control or through your smartphone.
The Lutron Serena can work with IFTTT recipes, Nest, and HomeKit. You could, for example, pair your Lutron Serena with smart plugs and smart lights, allowing you to open the lights automatically when you close the blinds.
While both the Somfy and the Lutron Serena lines are great for those who want to install new blinds or replace old ones, they are not an option for those who want to keep their current blinds. And if they are not sold on MySmartBlinds, they can consider buying Loxone.
Loxone, a provider of smart home devices, sells a device it calls the Tubular Motor Solidline Air. You use this with your current blinds, shutters, and awnings, and you are enabled to control them with your smartphone.
You would need to have the Loxone Miniserver in order to take full advantage of the home automation features, but it will allow you to forget about opening and closing your blinds because the Loxone Smart Home system will do it for you.
It takes into consideration several factors such as the room’s temperature and the sun’s current position, too.
The Loxone Smart Home can work with other smart devices such as smart bulbs, cooling and heating. The Loxone Tubular Motor Solidline Air sells for around $235 (link to website).
The Final Say
The MySmartBlinds Home Automation can help you turn your current blinds into smart blinds that you can easily control with your smartphone or tablet.
If you currently do not have blinds, you can order blinds together with the Home Automation Kit. You can use the Automation Kit to schedule when to automatically open or close your blinds.
However, there are a lot of rooms for improvement that would make this a useful device into a great one.
What turns most people off is the fact that it is rather limited when it comes to technology. For one, it only works on horizontal blinds. For another, it uses Bluetooth to pair your blinds with your smartphone.
A Wi-Fi connection would have made it more useful, allowing you to close the blinds when you forget to do so, even when you are not home.
Integration with home automation platforms such as SmartThings is coming, however, and that is something to look forward to. For sure, having IFTTT compatibility would be a good way to extend its usefulness.
All in all, you should think about holding off buying the MySmartBlinds Home Automation Kit until they have the SmartThings and Alexa integrations down pat. Who knows, a better, hubless, and more integrated smart blinds product might come along.
For now, MySmartBlinds has a good potential to be the best in the smart blinds market. It does what it promises to do and it promises to do more. You also do not need to replace your current blinds if you do not want to and you do not need to get home automation hubs for it to work.
Patrick Sinclair is a geek; make no mistake about that. He runs All Home Robotics in his spare time so he doesn’t have to think about his depressing cubicle and it gives him an excuse to buy expensive gadgets to review!