Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to use the SmartWings sun blinds that were designed to work with HomeKit. I've really enjoyed using them, and my house really feels like something out of the Jetsons. About a month ago, I received another shipment from SmartWings with a new pair of shades that, for the first time in a smart shadow product, included Matter support. HomeKit Weekly is a series focused on smart home accessories, automation tips and tricks, and everything related to Apple's smart home framework. In some ways, I want to have the flexibility to move to a different platform at any time. I keep multiple copies of my photos stored outside of iCloud. I keep my documents in a plain text document whenever possible. I prefer a third-party password tool over the ones built into Safari or Chrome. I desire flexibility when it comes to the suppliers I do business with. In some ways, I'd love to switch to Android tomorrow if Google releases a compelling laptop and/or smartphone. For that reason, Matter becomes a table stake for larger smart home purchases for me. Shades definitely fall into that category, as they are a bit more expensive than a typical smart home bulb or wall adapter. While I loved the HomeKit version of SmartWings sunglasses, I love the Matter-compatible version even more. It was the same simple installation process, but I now also know that I can easily use them in any of my chosen smart home ecosystems in the future.
The technical side of installation is about as simple as anything involving Matter or HomeKit. There is a code. You scan it. It goes through the onboarding process. One thing to note about the shades is that you have to 'wake them up'. They are shipped in a deep sleep state to prevent anything from happening to the roller during transportation. The easiest thing I could do was charge them for a few hours and then press and hold the button on the motor to wake them up. You know they're awake when the bike bounces on its own. Installing the shades depends entirely on which model you choose. The Matter compatible models were even simpler than the previous model we had. The brackets go flush in the window frame, you mark the holes and then a quick pre-drill is done. Each bracket has two screws. The lampshades “click” into the bracket with a flexible mounting at the front.
Use with HomeKit
The best thing about smart blinds is undoubtedly the ability to control them at different breakpoints. As the day progresses, we slowly lower the shades to match the sun. It is very nice to be able to set the shades to a certain percentage via Siri or the Home app. It is truly a magical experience. HomeKit's secret sauce is, of course, automation. How about automatically closing your blinds at 7:00 PM and opening them at 7:00 AM? You can set it up once in HomeKit and never have to touch them again.
Smart Shades aren't the cheapest home products, but they have been a fantastic upgrade to our smart home experience. I loved having SmartWings products in my home, and the automations were great through HomeKit. If you're interested in the new Matter colors, they're available in pre-release. FTC: We use monetized auto-affiliate links. More.
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