By Dena Dillon, CMO

When I started in the window covering industry, I admit that my motivation wasn’t to impact the world energy crisis and global warming. I am passionate about interior design, and I have a love for business that feels tangible and makes things. So as it was, the window covering manufacturing industry satisfied both my interests, and has given me a beloved industry where I can contribute my own skill set.

However as it turns out, all of us in the window covering industry are indeed energy saving warriors, fighting the war against global warming one window covering at a time - thanks to home automation and IOT (the internet of things).

Window coverings are increasingly becoming motorized and controlled through home automation, however it is the internet of things that has really allowed us to impact energy consumption. Firstly, what is the internet of things or IOT? IOT is simply connecting smart devices to the internet, just like computers, or our roller shades, that we can control remotely through an app on our phone. But these smart devices or “things” cannot only be connected to the user but too each other. Joseph Santos, the Chief Digital Officer of Smart Beings, explains how one device can work with other devices: “If you’re in a smart car, and you’re coming home a home automation hub will interact with your vehicle and know that someone is coming home, so it will turn on the thermostat and turn on the lights.” It can also unlock your doors, adjust your shades, and turn on your favorite music.

The latest home automation hubs can even use artificial intelligence via tiny cameras and microphones, to recognize faces and voices. This enables it to make in-home settings preferred by that individual. Of course privacy concerns have been raised, but it doesn’t seemed to have stopped the rapidly rising sales of such devices.

Perhaps the most popular use for this type of technology is for energy savings. These devices are able to collect real time data and make small adjustments during the day: dimming the lights, or revising the freezer temperature. They can also make adjustments to cooling and heating through the thermostat and, yes you guessed it, adjusting the window coverings.

Admittedly adjusting the energy consumption in one individual’s home won’t make a the difference to our planet that I am talking about, however home automation is growing in popularity, and there are now companies that use IOT to centrally control energy consumption in larger commercial buildings like office complexes, supermarkets, and chain stores. It's the accumulation of these small changes in energy consumption that this technology provides which will benefit our global energy system and ultimately the planet.

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