Smart home automation is an exciting new arena for homeowners. It lets them control the house intelligently, takes care of repetitive everyday chores, makes the house safer, and enables remote control. For many a ‘smart’ home has meant a toaster you can control with an app or turning light bulbs on and off by voice.
But smart windows do so much more. They can truly make the house more efficient and intuitive. Find out how smart windows – those on the market today and those that are under development – will change the way you interact with your home.
What is a ‘smart home’?
Smart home appliances like microwaves, ovens, fridges, and toasters have seen their popularity rise in the Canadian household. Part of the reason is that more and more appliances and gadgets are WiFi-enabled and internet-connected, and partly because homeowners have discovered ways to derive utility from them. But does it mean to be ‘smart’? Break it down into two parts:
Connectivity – Devices are connected to Apple Home, Google Home, or Amazon Alexa, letting users control their functions through a common home app or by using their voice.
Features – In-built features enhance the device’s utility (such as LED screens on fridge doors that show a person what’s inside without having to open the door; and appliances that automatically order refills when supplies run low.
How are windows becoming ‘smart’?
Windows today are largely static objects. They can be opened or closed, curtains can be drawn and blinds can be rolled up or down. With smart home windows, that is all set to change. Windows and smart doors will become part of a wider base of technologies that will make the home more comfortable for occupants and more energy efficient.
Motorized window coverings – There is a wide selection of motorized blinds, louvers, and curtains available for windows. These can be controlled via an app on the phone or iPad or by voice.
Smart window and door locks – Smart locks comprise remotely operated locks (or those that only open when you key in the right password) and motion sensors. Sensors can be individually configured for different times of the day and can even tell if the window or door is open. These will send you alerts in case of an intrusion – even while you are away on vacation.
Electrochromic glass – Glass that can turn from transparent to opaque at the touch of a button is becoming commonplace in cars (and the Boeing 787). At home, electrochromic glass lets a person control sunlight and privacy at the touch of a button. Combined with smart thermostats, windows can be dimmed according to temperature and the angle of the sun.
Automated skylights – Skylights are an interesting feature of any home, but since they are hard to reach they remain static and underused. Smart motorized skylights can be controlled remotely. They can also be set to open at specific times of the day (not if it is snowing or raining) to improve airflow.
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Smarter windows of the future
There are a lot of exciting techs that are being developed for windows.
- Solar panels are integrated into windows to power the home
- Self-cleaning windows
- Interactive window displays show contextual information
Integration with Google, Amazon Alexa, and Apple
There are three big players in the consumer smart home market right now – Google, Amazon, and Apple. Each brings its own smart home assistant (Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Apple Siri) to control the home. When choosing smart windows make sure they integrate with your platform of choice.
Any home can take advantage of the smart home features today’s door and windows offer. Speak to our representative and discover the wide range of smart home products and installations we have.