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Catching Up With: Somfy Systems : First Look

Inside Somfy’s TaHomA U.S. Launch

January 2012 By Nancy Klosek

France-based Somfy Systems, supplier to 54 countries of motors and electronic control systems for the exterior and interior window covering markets, demo'ed for the media the U.S. version of its TaHomA home automation solution in advance of the system's imminent launch.

The Z-Wave-based TaHomA (Total Home Automation) system, which allows simplified personalization, control and scheduling of homeowners' Somfy-powered window coverings, lighting and thermostats via the Web, iPads and iPhones, was put through its paces at the company's Dayton, N.J., U.S. headquarters for press members.

At its heart are Somfy's Z-Wave to RTS Interface (ZRTSI), which converts Z-Wave transmissions to control commands, and the Z-Wave Digital Motor Interface (ZDMI), which translates commands for Somfy's line of digital motors.

It is the first system available from the company to broaden its market reach outside the OEM realm, where it has been a dominant player for almost 40 years in supplying the engines behind a diversified roster of products, ranging from motorized projection screens to interior shades, blinds, draperies, awnings and rolling shutters.

Gina Lutkus, national TaHomA dealer sales manager, who offered a programming run-through of TaHomA at Somfy's vignette-equipped main showroom, said it was being made available through an authorized dealer network that included integrators, but that it would also be sold directly to window-covering dealers.

TaHomA's setup is intuitive and based on a step-by-step program that starts with room selection and moves sequentially from there to device configuration, scene configuration, event configuration and then schedule configuration. After the initial setup, the homeowner can easily operate it via a touch panel, and, once familiar with the "feel" of the scheduling for each room, can tweak scene or schedule configuration. However, the installer can always step in and change scenes, if the homeowner is skittish about touching settings—or correct any missteps by the homeowner—remotely, without having to roll a truck, said, Lutkus.

The system is scalable, but the base price for the components needed to configure 11 devices is $2,500, not including installation, she said.

Beyond control of shading and lighting, the capability to control wireless cameras and irrigation systems, among other things, will be added at a later date, said Lutkus. Dealers will receive extensive educational support for the system, both online (there is an interactive demo available at www.somfytahoma.com) and with trainings scheduled to be held in New Jersey, Florida and California. There is also a lighted point-of-sale display that is being made available, which costs the dealer $1,500, an amount that is rebated as soon as $10,000 in products are sold within the first year. CR

 

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