Lutron offers two wireless systems for home automation: Caseta and Maestro Wireless. Find out which is right for you, here!
Window blinds are not sexy. And you certainly do not attend a party and find yourself talking about Venetian blinds. It is also not the first thing that comes to mind when people think about smart devices that they would want to control using their smartphones.
It is unfortunate, really, because we think the window blinds should be the first thing that you should automate as they contribute to your home’s security and level of comfort.
Your window blinds will protect you from the prying eyes of whoever is outside your home, and you can cut out the cooling costs if you close your blinds when the weather gets hot.
MySmartBlinds offers you a way to control your window blinds using your smartphone, and even to automate certain functions– for your utmost security and comfort.
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Features of MySmartBlinds
What are the features and functionalities that you can expect from MySmartBlinds?
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 you would like about MySmartBlinds
MySmartBlinds really wants you to automate your blinds, even if it is the only smart device you have at home. That means that it works even if you do not have a home automation hub or other smart devices.
When the MySmartBlinds is working on its own, you can set schedules, track the sun, turn the energy savings mode on, and even get battery and solar updates.
With a smart automation hub, you get additional features, such as allowing MySmartBlinds work with other smart devices. Plus, you can control it even when you are out of Bluetooth range.
The installation is very simple and you do not even have to use tools. Whether you are retrofitting your current blinds, or you ordered new blinds from MySmartBlinds, you will not need to get your toolbox out.
The new blinds will snap into the window frames and stay there because of a combination of compression, friction, and adhesives.
You would also love the solar charging capability if you order the automation kit with solar panels. It might be slightly more expensive, but it really helps you save more in the long run. The mobile app also has battery level information, allowing you to see battery updates and tell you when solar charging occurs.
One of the best features that MySmartBlinds offers is the sun-tracking functionality, which would follow the seasons and adjust your schedules so that you get the same amount of sun into your home regardless if its summer, autumn, spring, or winter.
Furthermore, MySmartBlindshas made it easier for you to customize your setup. If you want to keep the device charged without you doing anything, you can opt for the solar panel.
If you want to save money upfront, you can buy the power cord for charging. There is also a manual switch that you can use to control your blinds even when you do not have your smartphone with you.
In sum, MySmartBlinds would like you to be able to control your blinds using your smartphone and not have to think about it. With the scheduling feature and the energy saving mode, you really do not have to remember opening and closing your blinds.
What could be better
While connecting your MySmartBlinds to a home automation hub will allow you to remotely control your blinds, this integration is not yet available. The company, however, does promise that you would soon be able to connect your MySmartBlinds with Samsung SmartThings and other home automation hubs.
For now, however, you would need to be within Bluetooth range in order to open or close your blinds.
Also, the energy savings feature enables MySmartBlinds to automatically close when the windows become hot so that theroom stays cool. However, instead of letting you set a certain temperature, you can only use a slider that would allow you to choose your comfort level from cool to hot.
If you currently have a roller shade, mini blinds, cordless blinds and honeycomb shades, you will have to replace these with horizontal blinds. Also, the MySmartBlinds automation kit works with iOS and Android devices, but the list of Android devices supported is rather limited.
If you have an iPhone 5 or later iPhone models, an iPad Pro, iPad Air or Air 2, or a 4th generation iPad or an iPad Mini 2 or laterversion, you can use MySmartBlinds.
In contrast, there are only five Android devices that support the automation kit: Samsung Galaxy S7 and S8, Samsung Note 8, Google Nexus 5, and Google Pixel.
Furthermore, MySmartBlinds uses Bluetooth technology to pair your blinds with your smartphone. While this makes it easier for you to connect the blinds to your mobile device, it also means that you would need to be within Bluetooth range before you can open or close them.
Lastly, you should remember that you would need one automation kit for every window around your house. If you have 10 windows, you would need 10 of these automation kits.
The automation kit alone already costs $99, so you can just imagine how much investment you would need in order to make the blinds for every window you have smart.
The thing with MySmartBlinds is that it looks pretty good on paper. However, there are a lot of features that are not available now but are certainly being promised. For instance, the hub is expected to be launched in March 2018.
Until then, there is no way for you to control your blinds when you are away from home. The integration with Amazon Alexa and other smart home devices will also not be possible without the hub.
Then you have limitations. If you have an Android device, then there is a good chance that the mobile app would not work for you because the Android app is only accessible through a very few specific Android devices.
Additionally, it is not compatible with a lot of different types of blinds, only horizontal blinds with a cord mechanism.
Nevertheless, MySmartBlinds works well and you can certainly make your blinds smart in no time. It can help you automate, keep your home secure, and keep the temperature in your rooms just right, even without really thinking about it anymore.
Is the money you pay for the kit, the blinds, the charging mechanism and other accessories worth it? Yes, of course!
However, if you cannot help but feel like you are using a product that is not yet finished, then you should consider getting a Lutron Serena. This line of motorized window treatments gives a choice of 150 different fabrics, making it easier for you to match your shades with your décor.
It works with Apple HomeKit, Nest, and IFTTT. Your Lutron Serena can work with smart lights, smart plugs, and other smart devices. Imagine being able to automatically open the lights when you close your shades!
However, the Lutron Serena can be very expensive. Depending on what setup and design you choose, you could spend anywhere from $350 to thousands of dollars. Plus, it does not have any planned integrations with Amazon Alexa.
If you can wait for the MySmartBlinds hub to become available later on, then MySmartBlinds is definitely the best system for you. It combines smart features with an easy-to-use mobile app and a comparably budget-friendly price.