For the past few years the reality of integrating smart home technologies has become more and more affordable. Intelligent thermostats, alarms, smoke detectors and now window shades.
Motorized window shades are definitely not new, but the AXIS Gear implementation is affordable, sleek and offers impressive integration.
First off the price, for $95 (early bird discount) you will get one motor that can control one chain or loop shade in your home. AXIS compares this to approximately $400 for a competing product. While a quick google search has led me to some options in the $100-$200 price range, they are all DIY piecemeal options that don’t offer smart integration and are less powerful (the AXIS offers 20lbs of lift, vs 10lbs in the low cost motor I found). So at $95 I can agree that they are ahead of the competition on price, especially for the all in one package.
When I say sleek, I mean this thing fits right in with the design of the modern smartphones it will interact with. A clean white rectangle with a touch enabled control system that mounts where the chain or loop from the shade hangs.
To power the motor, AXIS includes a solar cell they claim can operate using indirect sunlight so it will work on a window that isn’t in the most ideal location. Have a rare window that doesn’t ever see the sun? AXIS has you covered with a battery power pack, that they say will last you up to one year.
These features alone would make the AXIS Gear a worthwhile option but the smartphone integration is what has me the most enthused. It is to be expected that a smart home product will offer an app that lets you control it, and AXIS does, but where other apps might stop the AXIS Gear goes above and beyond by offering schedule support and support for IFTTT.
For those unfamiliar, IFTTT (if this then that) is a service that allows you to create automations based on different web services, including the AXIS Gear. Example automations include, if it is sunny then close the blinds, if I wake up with a Fitbit alarm (Fitbit and other smarthome device integration is an additional $20) then open the blinds.
To me this shows a level of support for smart home integration that makes me believe in the promise of the internet of things. This is how smart home technology should function and I for one am excited that this product exists. Check them out on Indiegogo to read up and support their campaign.