Late last year we were introduced to a smart blinds company called Smartwings, which, like a few other companies, offers custom roller blinds that are compatible with Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and even Samsung SmartThings. Now the company has unveiled its latest offering to work with HomeKit et al, and whilst it’s still a roller blind product, these work specifically for outdoor use.
This is ideal for people with porches looking out onto gardens, where they want to see what’s going on, but also possibly want to be protected from bright sunlight. As the company make custom blinds, you get to choose from a range of materials and sizes to suit your needs. These blinds are meant for outdoor use, so the materials are designed to withstand all sorts of weather (maybe not tornados and the like…), with the internal motor also protected by a weatherproof valance.
Speaking of the motor, this uses a 2200mAh Li-ion rechargeable battery that lasts between 4-6 months depending on usage. The company provide an option to keep the batteries fully charged via an optional solar panel, or a cable to power the device permanently from mains electricity. The mains power option isn’t weatherproof, so that would have to be kept out of reach of rain.
In terms of control, just like with any smart blinds for HomeKit, you can adjust them via any HomeKit compatible app, as well as via scenes and automations within these apps, or even via Siri on iPhone, iPad, Apple TV or HomePod/Mini. If you want even more options, the company sell optional extras in the form of two separate dedicated remotes. The basic model, for US$15.99, can control up to 5 blinds at once, whereas for US$25.99, you can purchase the 15-channel remote for controlling 15 sets of blinds, either individually or together.
The material for the blinds is offered in four basic ‘colours’ – White grey, Dark Grey, Black, and Chocolate Grey, with all the options using weatherproof material that the company describes as having 5% openness, which we take to mean the weave for the material is loose enough to let a large portion of light in, whilst providing a fair amount of protection. The materials used are Anti UV, lead-free, flame retardant, have antibacterial properties, and come with RoHS certification.
Our fabric can block heat from the sun and up to 92% of glaring UV rays, so you can read, use your phone, or watch TV without squinting.
The only thing to be aware of is that currently, the HomeKit versions of the blinds use Bluetooth for connectivity, with a remote-only option, and a Zigbee option (for Amazon Alexa only). In a world where Thread is making its presence known, this may be a deciding factor as to whether these are a vital purchase, although if you want outdoor HomeKit smart blinds, these are the only ones available.
Prices for the blinds depend on your requirements, but prices start at US$199.00. You can find visit Smartwings’ website for more information.