The connected home industry now covers everything from affordable audio, lighting, and cleaning to more extravagant entries but one lighting and privacy solution homeowners often assume would be too expensive are smart glass and window accessories. Connected blinds, shades, and windows or glass partitions made of smart glass aren't necessarily anything new, and that perspective may not be unwarranted. Traditionally, they have been priced well out of range for most users. However, in the era of modern homes that can respond to voice or smartphone interactions for everything else, they may just be essential to really bring a smart home together. The technology can be used to control a home's temperature more consistently, create privacy when desired while still allowing for a more open aesthetic, and to control the light in a home. What's more, like those other products listed above, they don't need to break the bank and there are a variety of solution types available that make it less implausible.
There are effectively two ways to gain control over a home's glass, which is predominantly tied in with windows – although some of the technology could certainly be applied to indoor or outdoor glass partitions. The first is to control the glass itself with technologies that darken or lighten glass via an electrical current and no blinds needed. Pricing varies between manufacturers and project to project, making it difficult to pin down. Replacing the glass is almost certainly the more expensive option since films tend to run between $99 to $249 for a single window. Buyers can choose to completely change out windows for smart glass made by companies such as SageGlass or View or to use aftermarket films – such as those offered by Sonte or Smart Tint – on their current windows. Either way, the glass can be controlled through a smart hub or smartphone from at home or elsewhere. For more in-depth automation, the changes can be tied in with other devices, such as light sensors, timers, and similarly connected devices to darken or clarify the glass whenever the homeowners like.
Shades or blinds can be swapped out or retrofitted with smart home solutions, too. While an arguably less fancy option, pricing here is more toward the middle of the road but, again, varies based on several factors. A company like Axis, for example, offers a motorized unit for retrofitting any cord or bead-loop set of blinds or shades with smart control for around $249 per unit. On the other hand, Somfy sells entirely new smart blinds and shades starting at $299. In any case, both solutions offer a way to control the blinds in exactly the same way as a smart window can be controlled. Importantly, the options are each consistent with the pricing for other smart home products and will almost certainly pay for themselves when used to help regulate home temperature and lighting – cutting back on energy spending elsewhere.