Back in late 2021, we reported on smart blinds manufacturer SmartWings adding HomeKit certification to some of their blinds, with the company offering a smart, non-HomeKit option utilising Zigbee. The HomeKit option at that time utilised Bluetooth, with a view to introducing HomeKit over Thread options later down the line. That day arrived on April 30th, although the company had been promoting the new blinds with Thread via crowdfunding a little earlier.
To begin with, you should be aware that Smartwings provides customers with three different options for their blinds. The first option is a smart blind that only functions with Smartwings’ remotes, which can control up to 15 blinds at once or individually. The second option, as already mentioned, is a Zigbee version that is compatible with Amazon Alexa and Samsung SmartThings. The third and final option is equipped with official HomeKit integration via Thread.
SmartWings offer custom blinds, not premade options as would be found with Ikea’s smart blinds options, so the prices are understandably higher, although still competitively priced when compared to offerings from Lutron (high-end), and Eve MotionBlinds (mid-priced). Smartwings offer a large range of materials as well as blind types, including roller shades, Zebra shades, honeycomb blinds, and even products made to withstand the outdoors, as we reported last year.
There’s no official word on when or if these blinds will work with Matter in the future, but I’m informed the Thread radio included in these devices should be capable of working with Matter.
Thread is a wireless communication protocol used to connect Thread-enabled smart home devices. It works by allowing these devices to talk to each other, even when they’re not directly connected to the internet. This is done using a ‘mesh network’, where powered devices, like smart plugs or wired switches, act as ‘routers’, passing messages between other devices to increase the range and reliability of the network. Thread is also secure and uses encryption and authentication to protect data transmitted over the network. It can be used for devices like smart locks or security cameras. A Thread Border Router (HomePod Mini, HomePod 2nd Gen, Apple TV4K 2nd Gen, or 3rd Gen w/ethernet) is a device that connects the Thread network to the internet. It allows devices on the Thread network to communicate with devices on other networks, like Wi-Fi or cellular, enabling users to control their smart home devices remotely.
Smartwings’ website has a guide that goes into fine detail in helping you prepare for new blinds, including measuring tips, and how to avoid common mistakes when measuring for new blinds. You can find out more about Smartwings and their new Thread-enabled blinds via the company website.