Technology - motorized shades
PowerView Gen 3
The latest and greatest automated window treatment solution from Hunter Douglas.
BY DOUGLAS WEINSTEIN
SMART SHADES ARE ALL ABOUT ADDED CONVENIENCE FOR TODAY’S PERFORMANCE HOME. You can now easily control shades with a button press, a tap on your mobile device, or even with your voice. And, of course, with the latest integration into modern control systems, you can automate your shades 24/7.
Two significant advantages of motorized shades are that you can control light to ensure you wake up on time or live glare-free throughout the day, as well as making your home more energy efficient by scheduling your motorized shades to close at midday to keep your home from overheating.
Hunter Douglas recently released their latest iteration of the popular PowerView family of motorized shades and I caught up with Scott Stephenson, who manages the product and integration strategy for all automated shading solutions for Hunter Douglas to talk about what’s new with the PowerView Gen 3.
"Gen 3 demonstrates our commitment to helping dealers seamlessly integrate automated window treatments into any home automation system and any project’s aesthetic or functional demands."SCOTT STEPHENSON
Manager, Product and Integration Strategy
DOUG: Tell us about this latest version of Hunter Douglas PowerView.
SCOTT: Designed with the feedback from our technology integrators at its core, PowerView Gen 3 is the automated window treatment solution dealers, designers and builders have long awaited. It pairs the high-quality custom design that homeowners crave with the technology integrators require for today’s connected home. We’ve built Gen 3 on a newly devised but solid infrastructure to offer home technology experts simple, reliable and scalable technology and industry-favorite features simultaneously. Gen 3 is equipped to support the fast-evolving connected home with a completely new Bluetooth LE communications technology, sleek new control hardware, and an intuitive, sophisticated setup process streamlined into the redesigned PowerView App.
Gen 3 demonstrates our commitment to helping dealers seamlessly integrate automated window treatments into any home automation system and any project’s aesthetic or functional demands. The real-time two-way communication provided by Bluetooth ensures reliable control and command between the PowerView App and third party control systems alike. Drivers are currently available for Control4, Crestron, Crestron Home, ELAN, RTI and URC, with Savant coming soon. Gen 3 also works with Alexa and Google with improved control via natural language voice processing.
DOUG: How long has this been in the works?
SCOTT: We have been working on the next iteration of PowerView since Power¬View Gen 2 came out. Over the past several years, we’ve been carefully collecting dealer feedback and really taking our time to make sure we could deliver an even better automation experience for this version, both for the homeowner and for the system integrators.
DOUG: What is the biggest upgrade in your mind for PowerView Gen 3?
SCOTT: This is a bit like asking a par¬ent to pick their favorite child – because we’ve worked hard to upgrade this entire platform. [laughs] It’s all familiar, yet new and improved. Aside from the quick setup, the top-notch integrations and the new hardware, the communications protocol is probably the more impactful upgrade. PowerView Gen 3 operates on Bluetooth Low Energy radio frequency (RF) technology, which enables real-time, two-way communication between the shades and the system for more robust and direct app-to-shade connectivity. Our dealers have told us that it’s easy for homeowners to understand Bluetooth since they’re familiar with it in the car or with other wireless devices, and it integrates well with third-party devices to give the full connected experience. We know this will help alleviate some hurdles when dealers get asked how this works and what value it brings to technology and design projects.
DOUG: What do integrators need to know about planning for automated shades?
SCOTT: The last few years have shown automated window treatments gaining admiration for their delicate balance of style and functionality. As the category continues to grow, more homeowners will want to reap the benefits of beautiful, custom smart shades for their projects, and will continue to blur the lines between designers’, architects’ and technologists’ plans. Automated shading can’t be a one-size-fits-all approach —the power options, shade styles, fabrics, sizes and shapes will vary across projects. While some opt for a retrofit add-on of smart shading, we’re seeing more build¬ers join forces with technology designers early on to discuss wiring shading systems into the fabric of the home and designing custom pockets or soffits so that the shade can completely disappear when raised, especially for custom build projects. As with any technology that requires wiring and building into the space, being part of the conversation from the early days is always best.
Just like you ask clients about their lifestyle to design the best systems, you can ask about their personal style to help them self-select the styles and fabrics that would level-up their space. Fortunately, Hunter Douglas offers a wide array of wired and wireless options to suit both new builds and retrofit projects, along with a huge array of training resources to help you specify the right shades. Dealers can also work with Hunter Douglas Installation Services (HDIS) to handle the measuring and installation and the dealers can focus on the automation part of the project.
DOUG: What do architects and builders need to know to plan for prior to installation?
SCOTT: The biggest thing that builders and architects need to know about automated shades is that they won’t impede your projects – they will only serve to enhance them. But builders and architects should consider shading early in the project development, just as they would other integrated technologies as well as other design elements of the home. No builder would ever close on a new home and then say to their client “OK, now you can figure out what countertops you want” but, unfortunately, that happens all the time with window coverings. Working with a dealer from the start will ensure that if the client is looking for options for some floor- to-ceiling windows that face a beautiful mountain view –a dealer won’t have to tear open newly finished walls to wire for shades after the fact.
Involving a dealer will also help you work together to estab¬lish timelines for measuring, ordering product and eventu¬al installation. The way Gen 3 has been designed means it will be an unobtrusive and quick installation with a seamless transfer to the owners. Finally, last but not least, when home¬owners eventually want to add to their system or upgrade, they are not calling you – they are calling their dealer and ac¬cessing direct expertise in the home technology department.
DOUG: And for designers?
SCOTT: PowerView Gen 3 is compatible with over 20 compatible shade styles, from the popular Silhouette® Window Shadings, to flagship Duette® Honeycomb Shades, and others such as Luminette® Privacy Sheers and shades with Duolite® for integrated room darkening. These styles, combined with our unmatched portfolio of fabric options, means that designers will be able to find a style and fabric to suit every project. Again, for technical assistance, I can’t stress enough how important it is to involve a technology design firm in the early discussions to ensure perfect results.