Balancing the collision between design and technology is an ongoing battle that Hunter Douglas aims to resolve. Some customers want to see the technology, others want to hide it. Integrators often have to find a way to hide the technology without hampering its performance.
When technology is on display, the industrial design of the product is vital. According to our recent in-depth analysis of CE pro design and hidden technology, 56% of integrators rate design as very important, and an additional 40% say product design for exposed technology is “somewhat important”. This represents 96% of integrators who say product design is vital.
The survey also asked integrators which of their customers was MOST concerned about masking technology or product design. By far, interior designers were #1: 42% of integrators said interior designers were the most affected. Architects come second with 16% of dealers saying architects are the most affected. Owners were third at 15%.
“It’s interesting that there’s such a delta between the percentage of interior designers who want to hide the technology and the percentage of owners,” notes Scott Stephenson, product manager, motorization at Hunter Douglas. “It tells me that maybe there are areas of compromise that can be reached. Maybe the designer is pushing to hide something that the owner honestly doesn’t really care about.
Overall, Stephenson believes manufacturers and integrators should seek product solutions with high industrial design to alleviate aesthetic hesitations.
Hunter Douglas did just that recently with the release of its new PowerView Gen 3 automation system which features a sleek gateway device and eye-catching Pebble remotes.
“Year after year, smart shading continues to serve the custom integration industry as a key growth pillar, with tremendous end-user benefits: privacy, security, convenience, energy savings, interoperability and custom design. Integrating automated window treatments seems like a no-brainer, but it also has a reputation for being a heavy barrier to entry – with a combination of design-centric and technical learning curves,” says Stephenson.
Using feedback from integrators, the PowerView Gen 3 solution is a complete overhaul of the company’s previous control platform. To carry out the upgrade, the company relied on four basic guiding principles:
- Simplicity: Recognizing that complexity doesn’t help either the integrator or the end user, the company has redesigned the installation and configuration process that makes it easier than ever to deliver sophisticated, personalized shade control.
- Reliability: Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) sets a future-proof foundation for automated window treatments, enabling real-time, two-way communication between shades and the system.
- Scalability: For any window – and any space – Hunter Douglas has laid out a clear path to trigger automations and schedule shading.
- Simplified control. Home automation is becoming more connected than ever, and to be both scalable and seamless, the best smart blinds should prioritize integrations with third-party systems and voice solutions.
“PowerView Gen 3 completes the connected home with style and ease, combining high-quality shade styles and fabric designs with seamless integration into the connected home,” he adds.
According to Stephenson, the system can be set up in a fraction of the time it used to take. He used the example of a 10-shade, three-piece system that previously would have taken 45 minutes to install and can now be installed in just 10-12 minutes.
“It’s much easier for integrators to get in and out with constant two-way feedback,” he notes.
The design of the Pebble Remote was actually based on the industrial designer seeing colored pebbles flowing in a small stream. The company offers a range of colors for the stylish remotes, but Stephenson says black and white are the most common choices.