The “smart home” is a huge trend in residential construction. Homebuyers want the various devices in their houses to be connected and communicate with one another. They want to be able to remotely control appliances, lights, media devices, camera systems, and HVAC, and they want them to work together; for instance, with a single button press on a touchscreen, lights in certain areas come on, and the heat is turned up in those same areas.
Just like any of the devices mentioned above, Draper shades can be tied into your smart home, and that’s just what one Indiana homeowner asked SYNC Technology Integration of Indianapolis to do.
“They wanted to step into the 21st Century and be able to experience technology in their home, but not so much that they couldn’t understand or operate it,” according to Timothy Watts, ESC, ESC-T, the COO and Co-Owner of SYNCti. “So they were looking for what kind of options they had, what trends were out there, and how the design would fit their home. From there they decided what aspects were important to them. That included distributed audio and video, surveillance, security, wired and wireless networking, HVAC and Garage Door control. They also wanted a way to easily control the Draper shades.”
In all, the project involved 64 motorized Dual Roller FlexShades utilizing hardwired 110 volt power, and controlled over a network using RS485. That is a lot of shades to set up and control in one home, and to make it even more complicated, the homeowner didn’t want to see shade keypads all over the walls of the home.
“They also wanted a solution that allowed them to control all the shades in the home no matter what room they were in,” according to Watts. “So given all the other items we were working on in the home, it was decided to primarily control the shades with their URC Total Control Automation System. With this system we placed an iPad Mini in a LauchPort inductive charging station in the more primary rooms.”
This iPad thus became the central controller not only for the shades, but also for TV, security, surveillance, HVAC, music, and other smart devices.
The homeowners had already measured and ordered the shades they wanted. For the opaque shade in each Dual Roller headbox, they chose white Avila Twilight by Mermet. Most of the mesh shades used oyster colored ShearWeave 2600 with a 10% openness factor.
“We liked the non-slick finish of the Avila Twilight, and the color blended with our décor,” according to the homeowners. “For the mesh shades, the choice of color was, again, cosmetic. We went with 10% openness because we wanted some light control but also the ability to see through them clearly. The opaque shade over the same window gives us the ability to stop the really bright sunlight should the 10% mesh prove inadequate to the task.”
While having the homeowners choose and order their shades ahead of time saved some time and work for SYNCti, it also brought a few hiccups. By installation time, a key element in controlling the shades had been discontinued by the third party manufacturer. Draper recommended building a custom driver for the shades, taking a direct RS232 signal and converting it to RS485, and sending that out over the Bus Line.
“This basically meant we had to program every shade command we wanted to offer the client on the user interface,” according to Watts. It was a big job, but “in the end, it gave the client access to every shade in the home from any iPad or smart phone in any room.”
SYNCti also programmed buttons to allow the homeowners to shut or raise every shade in the home with the press of one button.
“All in all, the shades themselves look great in the home and offer everything the client wanted from them,” according to Watts. “I believe they are happy with the fabric and motor durability, and very happy overall with the setup.”
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