Also online at: www.dijonline.co.uk Industry News Feature 13 THE door industry journal spring 2018 In this feature article Neil Sorrell, Channel Manager for UK Access Markets at Somfy, talks about home automation and the latest innovations in the sector. At Somfy, we’ve seen that the uptake of home automation in the UK has been slow, certainly compared to the situation on the continent. Where home automation has been introduced in this country, it has tended to be through multiple individual systems - using anything from WIFI, to Bluetooth, to GSM and beyond – and is used to control a limited number of products. But that isn’t what I’d call true home automation. You could say, at best – it is ‘app based control of utilities’, and it is largely in relation to lighting and heating, rather than the full solution that can open your blinds, control your gates and garage doors, play music and set mood lighting. However, the situation is starting to change. The companies that are currently selling smart control of heating and lighting have actually warmed up the home automation market, by making the concept more realistic and attainable. And now the UK is starting to catch up with the level of demand we have seen in mainland Europe. An expanding market At Somfy, we have been advising the companies already dabbling in home automation on both the possibilities and limitations of hardware/software interaction in this sector. We use the example of large-scale wired projects (like the Shard) as a template to show the potential for small-scale wireless success. The fact is that there’s huge scope for the growth of home automation in the UK, and the success stories of the future will be the firms who champion ‘interoperability’ of all products. Not just moving products, but across utilities, security, audio, climate and visual. We have led the growth of this market through the Somfy Tahoma Home Hub, which launched last year in the UK. This allows consumers to control their garage door - as well as curtains, blinds, heating, electrical equipment and more (200 Somfy and non Somfy products in total) - through a smartphone or tablet.