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Smart window coverings for everyone

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Not that long ago, automatically operated blinds were seen as futuristic, highly luxurious, maybe even as gadgetry. Times have changed however. The Motionblinds product range brings this convenience and comfort within everyone’s reach. The automation of blinds and other window coverings means that they may be preset to open and close themselves at certain times of the day, or in response to weather conditions. You can also use voice control or a smartphone app for remote control.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is just around the corner and can make your home into a smart home by connecting devices and services. It only makes sense that if your fridge will soon be able to order online whatever it ran out of, your window blinds will also become part of the story. No, this is no longer a distant pipe dream of interior designers and wishful trend watchers.

According to Bas Klein Tuente, manager engineering at Coulisse, that was already crystal-clear when the Motionblinds concept was first conceived in 2016. “Automated blinds simply have many benefits. Programmed settings will give you much better control of your indoor climate and your energy bill. It always looks like someone is home, even when you’re on holiday. And accidents with cords and playing children are out of the question.”

In modern homes with lots of glass, automatic control of indoor light levels is highly convenient. Bas: “It’s a quick and easy way to strike the right balance between comfort and privacy. And yes, it’s also cool when you can darken all the windows at once to watch a movie. Or choose whether or not you want to be woken up by the first sunshine of a new day.”

Simplicity rules

The specialists at Coulisse have long been convinced that motorized window blinds are the future. Under the guidance of Bas and his colleague Ruben de Vries, a team of twelve people has worked intensively on Motionblinds. The central starting premise? Simplicity and connectivity.

“The necessary technology has been in place for a while. It was all about making what is possible into a reality that is accessible for everyone. This meant the big challenge for us was to keep it as simple as possible, both for the consumer and the installer.”

Bas and his team were well aware of the psychological barriers in the market. Above all else, motorized blinds must be clearly feasible and affordable if they are to achieve broad acceptance among critical consumers, dealers and installers.

Reliability is also crucial. Bas: “Nobody wants a system that sometimes fails or suddenly refuses for no apparent reason. And then there is ease of use. Your window coverings must be simple to operate by anyone in your home, including the housekeeper, children, friends and family.”

Wireless reliability

The team succeeded in incorporating all of these vital conditions for commercial success. With Motionblinds, motorized and automated window blinds are as easy to install and operate as their traditional, manually operated counterparts.

Motionblinds combines all the properties that make electrically operated blinds attractive. Each motor has an integrated USB-rechargeable battery. As a result, the system remains wireless and your house does not first have to be equipped with an expensive electrical infrastructure.

“Voice control is made simple with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, and with the Motionblinds app on your smartphone it becomes bi-directional: your screen shows that the system knows the current position of your blind and how much power is left.”

The app allows you to control the system from any location, and because Motionblinds also works with the free web-application IFTTT (If This Then That), the window coverings can interact fully automatically with other smart devices, such as the thermostat and lighting.

Manual when you want

What makes Motionblinds unique is the decision to maintain manual operation. If you don't feel like it or don't have the time to explore the control options, simply pull on the chain or wand that traditionally produces the desired effect. The familiar pulling mechanism is expected to drastically lower the mental threshold. The same goes for the extensive product support offered on the website. The instructions and videos will mostly be redundant, because Motionblinds really is as simple as it can possibly be.

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