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 Let There Be Light 

Home means so many different things to different people. Many have strong emotional connections to home that they might not even be aware of, while others spend decades and countless dollars trying to perfect every aspect of their space.

Either way, drapery, shading and lighting control are de rigueur in any and every home. Of course how elaborate and how much money will depend on individual tastes, requirements, and budget, but one thing is certain in the design community and in custom electronics, no category is more robust and bursting with potential.

Connected Design talked to some of the biggest names in manufacturing about where business is now, what the homeowner needs going forward and how the home technology professionals can give their clients exactly what they want.

Having fun in your home environment has lead to many of the Basalte designs, said Koen Dekyvere, International Sales Manager for Basalte.

“Controlling elements in the home should be a fun experience for the end-user," Basalte said. "Our control features touch sensitive, multifunctional keypads and minimalist mounts for iPad and iPod touch that integrate with the major home automation systems. Our products should not only look or feel good; they should also be great fun to use. This results in elegant design products, made of high-grade materials.

"The customer and designer are attracted by the high-end design, while the integrator has all functionalities he needs in one comprehensive keypad: switching/dimming, multitouch functionalities and an integrated temperature sensor.”

In addition, today’s non-stop homeowners need mobile device control.

“Lutron’s products range from control of a single light to whole-house systems that provide control from a mobile app from anywhere in the world. Lighting is very personal, each person has his or her own preferred level for tasks and activities," said Melissa Andresko Communications Director and Public Relations for Lutron Electronics Co., Inc. "Giving clients that personal level of control means making spaces more versatile. With a simple adjustment of lights, the kitchen can be transformed from a place for family dinners, to where the kids are doing homework and crafts, to the entertainment hub of the home. And because Lutron products are offered in a variety of colors and finishes, coordinating with a home’s décor is simple."

Solar shading has become an increasingly important channel as it continues to be designed into homes where energy management and art, furniture, and flooring protection are of paramount concern.

“We were the first company to successfully promote solar shading products in the US," commented Victor Razon, Director of Sales & Business Development, MechoShade Home Systems. "Our history spans back to 1969. Our tagline for decades read, ‘The Architects Choice’! "

"Our roots were developed from the A&D community who continually support our products and services for over a half million projects," Razon added. "Our CEU programs afford designer and architects certification credits they constantly need to meet their requirements. Our commitment to providing “Best Experience” has been elevated to the highest level with new CRM and ERP software enhances putting our business in the forefront in customer service, complete on-time deliveries and leading edge product developments. The homeowner will get the support of established long standing dealers who have the skills and wherewithal to get their job properly designed, measured and installed to their expectations.”

Basalte Sentido: The light switch with reinvented style.

Of course ease of use is essential for the homeowner. Not just from an individual client perspective, but that for referral business from their friends and associates. According to George Janelis, Sr. Channel Manager Honeywell, “When controlling the comfort and safety of a home, customers seek a delightful experience that is simple, secure and easy to access. Honeywell’s Lyric home control system meets those expectations with its mobile capabilities and intuitive interface.

“Lyric is an ever-growing platform that includes a broad range of products and features. The security aspects of the Lyric system include eight indoor/outdoor video feeds streamed through the cloud to security hubs or smartphones, CO2 and smoke detectors, and glass shatter and motion sensors. Also incorporated in the system is a feature to prevent typical causes of false alarms (and ultimately avoid fines issued by some local municipalities); for example, Honeywell has developed pet-immune motion detectors. These allow users to let pets up to 80 lbs. roam freely around their home without tripping a motion sensor. Beyond the technical features, user operation and training is key to preventing false alarms, and Honeywell systems are designed to be extremely intuitive. The Lyric platform includes a remote services app so that users can manage the safety of their homes while away, improving peace-of-mind.”

Many homeowners who require lighting, shading and drapery control, have more extensive automation systems in their homes and it is important that the lighting, shading, etc. works seamlessly with the home’s automation system.

Said Thomas Harkness, Field Integration Manager Somfy, “Somfy-powered solutions seamlessly integrate with third-party automation systems regardless of the brand or technology. We manufacture strong, quiet motors with electronic and app controls for interior and exterior window coverings. With over 50 years of expertise, we have solutions for most every type of window covering which are manufactured nationwide. Designers can source Somfy-powered solutions to meet most any fabric, texture or design criteria. Somfy offers the quietest and strongest motor range available on the market today. While our motorized solutions feature flexible power options (battery-operated, solar-powered and wired), they also offer flexible control options. Radio Technology Somfy (RTS), our exclusive control platform, offers users hand-held remotes, wireless wall switches, table-top controls, timers, sensors and a smartphone/tablet app. A full line of integration devices allows control from a third-party home automation system.”

Shading, drapery and lighting controls are used in a variety of commercial installations outside of the home. These represent tremendous opportunity for designers and technology professionals to look beyond their typical client demographic to further enhance their businesses and community outreach.

“Window fashions by QMotion are installed in a wide variety of places including hospitals, universities, hotels, restaurants, retail spaces, offices and more," said Gene Demestre, VP President of Sales and Business Development QMotion. "Our automatic shades are sought after by professionals for their innovative technologies and fabrics. With our patented tug feature and detailed instructions, installation and programming of our manual and motorized window shades has never been so easy."

“With all QMotion’s motorized products, the new shades are equipped with a patented manual override feature, an industry exclusive. Customers can operate the shades by remote control or by hand without damage to the shade or motor."

“In addition to the motorized shades, QMotion offers the industry’s first–and only–trackless motorized drapery rod. The next generation of motorized window fashions now adds seamless elegance to any residential or commercial space. QMotion offers full project management and technical support services and due to our award-winning customer service team, design firms choose QMotion for our attention to detail.”