Where once a ‘smart home’ meant being able to turn on a few light bulbs and see who’s at the front door, today smart technologies are an increasingly intrinsic part of Canadian homes. Home appliances, garage doors and thermostats have integrated with the internet and digital assistants to provide real time control over the state of the house.
Now smart home windows are becoming a reality. The field is still young and some of the technologies we will describe are firmly at the ‘emerging’ end, but that does not mean homeowners cannot incorporate at least some into their existing setups.
5 technologies to make your windows ‘smarter’
Keep reading to find out the five smart home window solutions that you can get for your home right now.
*The Window Experts does not carry the products mentioned in this article.
1. Window sensors
Window sensors are an inexpensive, entry-level smart home technology. Window sensors provide a real time update on the status of your windows, so you no longer have to wonder “Did I leave the window open?!” Other than a convenience feature they make your home more secure. Sensors in 2020 come with Google Home, Siri and Alexa integration, too, so all you have to do is ask “Are any of my windows open?”
2. Automatic window shades
Smart window shades and window blinds can be retrofitted to existing brackets easily. These devices contain a small motor that can raise, lower, open and close the blinds on command. Use the integrated app to schedule blinds to operate automatically during the day. Of course, you can tell your smart home assistant to control the blinds too.
3. Automatic skylights
Skylights are common in a lot of homes but often serve no more than as a static window to the sky because they are so hard to reach. Wi-Fi connected electric skylights are, however, transforming how people use skylights. Skylights can be set to open automatically if the house becomes too warm or humid; be scheduled to open at dawn and close automatically at night; most will even close themselves if they detect rainfall.
4. Electrochromatic glass
This specialized new glass is a relative rarity but is becoming more common as prices have come down and the technology has become more accessible. Basically electrochromatic glass is transparent (or nearly transparent), but when an electric current is applied it turns opaque. This technology was first pioneered in automobiles and the Boeing 787, now it is available in your home! An app can control the level of opacity and schedule the glass to transition gradually throughout the day.
5. See-through displays
Sci-Fi really is meeting reality with this one! Translucent displays that can be installed on windows are becoming more and more advanced every passing day. Turned off you cannot tell the window apart from an ordinary one; but once the display turns on you are instantly transported into the world of the ‘Minority Report’ (minus the dystopian bits, of course). Note displays are expensive and the image quality is not nearly as good (not at all) as your OLED TV.