For some time now, motorized window treatments have stolen the spotlight in the home tech sector. The category has grown at an astonishing rate; Global Industry Analysts Inc. forecasts the global blinds and shades market to reach $11.8 billion by 2026. Manufacturers, distributors, and systems integrators are riding the wave, developing, designing, and installing incredible systems — and consumers are thrilled with the results.
Clearly, the integration community has fully embraced motorized shades as a crucial part of their portfolios. Yet there’s another band of professionals bullish about the category: window covering professionals. Like interior designers, window covering consultants are often at the top of the communications hierarchy, working directly with homeowners to choose the perfect window covering fabrics, colors, and styles. What they rarely do — but find value in — is programming, automating, and integrating motorized window coverings with other tech in the home. This is where integrators align easily with window covering pros without competing with them — key to keeping everyone on the project happy.
Window covering professionals and systems integrators alike strive to deliver their customers something special — something they can’t get from run-of-the-mill shade manufacturers and fabricators. They consider technology a powerful differentiator and require systems integrators to set those wheels in motion.
Which Features Impress Window Covering Pros Most?
Screen Innovations recently exhibited at the International Window Covering Expo (IWCE) to engage with the window-covering industry and determine specific tech and design features that would strongly resonate with this audience.
Here’s what they discovered:
- Design That Dovetails Architectural Trends: Window covering professionals and their clientele want a clean, modern, and minimalist look, appreciate color-matched housings, and products that feature great fit and finish. A motorized window covering housing with clean lines, less bulk, or that disappears into a ceiling pocket suits today’s architectural style and a growing preference for view preservation (i.e., windows void of visible hardware).
- Ultra-quiet Motors: No one ever said, “I like to hear the drone of a motor as it lifts and lowers a window shade.” Silence is golden to window-covering pros and their clientele, making near-silent motors a huge selling feature, especially for projects with enormous window banks.
- Rechargeable Batteries: Battery-operated motorized shades have had a huge influence on the window-covering market, affording greater flexibility of placement and ease of installation than conventional wired units. There’s just one hitch: the use of so many batteries and having to change them often. Pulling out a ladder to replace batteries is a huge turn-off. The idea of quickly recharging a battery via a magnetic pole appeals to the need for simple, serviceable systems that won’t require customers to climb ladders or hassle.
- Integration-Friendly Features: Window covering pros aren’t looking to sell their customers a one-trick pony, rather, they’re actively exploring ways to enhance the operational efficiency — and cool factor — of their shade offerings. They want shades to sync with lighting, AV systems, and more; They want to raise and lower shades effortlessly via preset schedules and for setpoints to be easily modified on the fly — all tasks they’d like to hand off to a systems integrator.
- Opportunity for Systems Integrators: Everybody wins when systems integrators and window covering professionals align. While a systems integrator tackles installation and programming, a window-covering pro can handle fabric selection, measurements, and other minute details. You can focus on what you do best — and so can they — making the entire project run smoother.
Window-covering pros are looking for tech specialists to introduce them to — and help them deploy — the latest motorized shade designs and technologies. Partnering with them grants exposure to new clients who may also want other integrated technology, presenting a great opportunity for add-on business and RMR. Should a motorized window covering customer request adjusted setpoints, integration with new products, or other types of service and support, a systems integrator is the perfect person to provide it. Of course, this will only be the case if a positive relationship with the window-covering pro already exists. Start working on this now and reap rewards sooner than later.
FIND A SHADE SPECIALIST
3 Ways to Win Over Window Covering Experts With Screen Innovations Motorized Shades
- Nano 2: The design-conscious clientele of window covering professionals refresh their home interiors often, including window coverings. SI’s Nano 2 motorized shade housing simplifies fabric swaps via its removable fascia.
- TRO.Y IP Control Gateway: Window-covering pros like the idea of smart shades; however, they don’t like subcontractors who complicate and delay their projects. SI’s IP Control Gateway Tro.Y streamlines the programming process by supporting on-site and remote programming via any web-enabled device. Shades can be programmed and integrated in a few minutes instead of several hours.
- Zen 2: Outdoor entertaining is at an all-time high. SI’s Zen 2 can help window-covering experts exploit the burgeoning market. The décor-minded outdoor shading solution boasts an elegant, customizable, architecturally friendly design that transforms decks, gazebos, patios, and other outdoor areas into comfortable, stylish living spaces.
For more information, visit screeninnovations.com.
This article originally appeared on ResidentialSystems.com.
BY: RYAN GUSTAFSON, CEO, SCREEN INNOVATIONS
Learn More about SI's Outdoor Motorized Shades - Zen® 2
Learn More about SI's Indoor Motorized Shades