Voice controlled smart window shades: How to get started

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Photo Credit: tarnrit

If you want to get the most out of your investment in automated window shades or blinds, you’ll want to take advantage of any voice command controls that may be available for use. Being able to raise and lower your window coverings using nothing more than a few simple verbal commands is not only the easiest way to control them, it’s also the most convenient, as alternate control methods require you to navigate to the associated app on your smartphone or tablet — functionality that can become useless if you aren’t able to locate said device.

On that note, let’s take a look at how you can use the Apple Home App, the Somfy App, and Alexa to control your motorized shades.

How to Control Your Smart Window Shades Using the Somfy App

Many homeowners are under the impression that once their motorized shades are installed, the next step will be to begin issuing voice commands to adjust their position. Not so. In actuality, the first step – once the blinds have been installed – will be to download a mobile application that is compatible with the product. In most cases, the product manufacturer will have developed their own app for use with their products, while other manufacturers have joined forces with a third party app. In either case, you’ll need to integrate the app to your existing Smart Home system before you can begin using voice controls. It should be noted that before you purchase your automated blinds, you should make sure that the corresponding app can be integrated into said system (it would be unfortunate indeed if you go to the trouble of installing the window coverings only to find out that the corresponding application is not supported by the Amazon Alexa or Apple Smart Home).

It’s also worth mentioning that in order for Somfy myLink app to interface with your smart home system there must be at least one Somfy myLink WiFi to RTS interface available, but more on that later.

What Smart Home Systems Can I Use to Control My Smart Blinds?

As mentioned above, any homeowner who is delving into smart home technologies for the first time should be wary of what integration options are available. As technologies have developed in recent years, this need for wariness has somewhat abated since many products can be fully integrated into a wide range of systems. Generally speaking, the products that are most popular with consumers will have more integration options since Smart Home systems want to make sure they can cash in on the success of said products. Fortunately, Somfy falls comfortably within the “products that are in high demand category” and as such, benefit from being able to integrate with the following pillars of Smart Home systems:

  • Savant
  • Crestron
  • Leviton
  • RTI
  • AMX
  • ELAN
  • URC
  • IRIS
  • Wink
  • Vantage
  • NEXIA
  • SmartThings
  • Amazon Alexa

How to Setup the Somfy myLink App & RTS Programming

For those that aren’t particularly well-known for their technological prowess, setting up the Somfy myLink app is easy and takes little more effort than installing any other app via Google Play or the App Store.

  1. Download the Somfy myLink app from the App Store or Google Play.
  2. Plug the myLink interface into an available wall outlet. For best results, choose an outlet that is close to the motorized blinds you would like to control.
  3. Open the app, then select Start New System on the Home screen. Follow the setup prompts that appear within the app.
  4. Connect to the myLink network using your smartphone or tablet.
  5. Return to the app. Tap the Search for myLink Choose your network and enter your WiFi network password, then tap Next.
  6. Confirm the LED on the front of the myLink interface is solid green. This indicates that the interface is connected to the LAN.
  7. Complete the remaining installation steps as prompted (this includes naming the myLink and selecting an easy to identify icon).

With the app configured, you’ll need to complete the Radio Technology Somfy (RTS) programming.

  1. Using the app, identify and select the transmitter type from the available options.
  2. Confirm that the physical transmitter is working by testing the up/down functions.
  3. Select the channel that is associated with the set of blinds you wish to control.
  4. Press the program button located on the back of the transmitter until the blinds jog.
  5. Tap the Program button on the app.
  6. Test the operational control within the app.
  7. Tap Done. Repeat as necessary.

Smart Blinds Offer Privacy, Security, and are Child Safe

Owning automated shades is pretty neat, but there are some serious benefits associated with this technology. First, automated shades allow you to increase the privacy in your home quickly and easily via voice commands, in-app controls, or by using a predetermined schedule.

As for security, having the ability to remotely control your window coverings from just about anywhere help to give the impression that the home is occupied, even when no one is home.

For those that are environmentally conscious, automated shades that you can control remotely will improve your ability to mitigate heat loss in the winter and solar gain during the hot summer months; this strategy can ultimately help lower your home’s heating and cooling costs, and your overall carbon footprint.

Lastly, the design of modern motorized shades has done away with pull cords, meaning that your window coverings will no longer pose a choking hazard to small children and/or pets.

Even if you aren’t particularly fazed by the idea of having voice activated smart home technology, remote-controlled automated shades are a great way to add convenience, privacy, security and cost savings to your busy life. Best of all, installation and setup is about as easy as it gets, meaning that this technology contains no real downsides.


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