Whether you’re in the market for a motorized shade for a tiny bathroom window or a swath of moveable fabric to cover a huge wall of glass, manufacturers at the recent Custom Electronic Design and Installation (CEDIA) Expo in Denver had options for all applications and all budgets.
Lutron, one of the premier providers of motorized shading solutions, had expanded its already impressive line with products for people on tighter budgets. Both the Sivoia QS Triathlon and Serena models are battery powered, which means they are easily retrofitted into existing homes, and with prices starting at $589 and $399, respectively, are options that most people can afford. The lower-than-normal price tags mark Luton’s shift from being a provider of primarily high-end systems to a company that offers solutions for the mainstream. “We want to make motorized shading more available and viable for homeowners,” says Rich Black, Lutron director of residential product management. With the affordably priced systems and the addition of 1,500 new shading fabrics, Black says he expects Lutron’s shading business to grow by more than 20 percent next year.
Also a big player in the shading market, Hunter Douglas announced technology that will enable its products to be easily, and wirelessly, integrated into third-party control systems. The company’s Platinum Gateway and Repeater System enables custom electronics (CE) pros to weave Hunter Douglas motorized shades into home control scenarios so that the shades can adjust in sync with the lights, thermostats, audio/video systems, and more. The Gateway also links end-users to a free downloadable app from Hunter Douglas that allows them to set up their own schedules for their motorized shades.
This iOS app allows you to control and automate your Hunter Douglas shades.
Somfy, too, is enabling easier integration of its shading solutions with Z-Wave based home control systems (including its own TaHomA system) with its new Z-Wave bridge controller. The ZRTSI enables control of up to 16 individual motorized products or 16 groups of products.
While many of the motorized shading manufacturers at CEDIA focused on integration with other control systems and developing more affordable wireless solutions, Crestron played the strong and silent type with a new motor that packs a lot of power into an ultra-quiet brushless design. The Digital QMT (Quiet Motor Technology) motor supports up to 10 motorized shades, and can be paired with shades from 17 inches wide to more than 10 feet wide.
MechoShade is bringing big muscle to the shading business with its new appropriately named MagnaShade. This one motorized roller shade can cover a width of 40 feet, a span that used to require the installation of several individual rollers. It eliminates the light leakage and synchronization challenges associated with banks of windows covered by several individual shades. What’s even more remarkable than the roller’s ability to lift a shade of such magnitude is that it does it with a roller tube measuring just 6 inches in diameter.
The newbie in the business, QMotion, displayed an impressive line of motorized shading and drapery products with innovative features that set it apart from its more established competition. It’s uniquely designed motorized drapery rod, for example, is meant to be seen rather than hidden, as are most other drapery tracks. Available in a variety of finishes, the rod features a carved diamond pattern into which the O rings of a drapery are hooked. As the motor slowly and quietly spins the rod, the rings travel along the carved pattern, effectively opening or closing the drapes to the desired position. The movement can be initiated via a command from a keypad or a handheld remote—or, simply by gently tugging the drape.
QMotion drapery rod is meant to be seen, not hidden.
Unique to QMotion this unique method of activating the motor is also built into its battery-powered roller shades. Additionally, in just two years in the business, QMotion offers a bridge to enable seamless integration of its products into home control systems and a downloadable control app for mobile Android and iOS devices.
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Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.