Fear Not the Motorized Shade Business: How To Talk Like an Expert
Crestron provides ammunition for dealers to thrive in (or jump into) the motorized window treatment business. Here are a few tips for looking and talking like a pro.
I’m fearful of installing anything (the jig is up), but if I were an integrator I might be particularly fearful of motorized window coverings, what with all that fabric stuff and infinite options for roller, Roman and drapery-type shades.
But spend 45 minutes with Crestron and you can start to rest easy knowing that you can do this.
In a recent CE Pro Webinar, Crestron advises that integrators just need to know a few basics about window coverings to get the sale, and then the manufacturer can hold their hands from there.
“We get asked over and over again: “’We’re interested in selling window treatments but we’re not quite sure how to get into it’” says Charlie Derk, technology manager, Shading Solutions at Crestron.
He advises dealers to show they can add value to architects, interior designers and builders, and “becoming a fabric expert” is a good way to get started.
Here are a few notables from the Webinar:
FREE WEBINAR FOR DOWNLOAD
How to spec a Window Shading System, or: How to Sound Like a Window Covering Pro
When you do walk-throughs of a property, make sure you examine each space during a sunny day and at times when the sun is streaming through the windows so you can “get a better understanding of how natural light is going to impact the room,” Derk says.
You don’t need to know the details about every fabric, says Derk, but “being able to talk to interior designers and architects about the fabric and explaining what the different properties will do and how they affect this space … all of the sudden they realize, hey, this guy knows what he’s talking about.”
Understanding the energy-saving implications of different shading scenarios can earn gold stars for integrators. Derk says Crestron can provide the solar heat gain coefficients for any given configuration. He says, “Architects really respond well because their job is not only to be beautiful but energy efficient, so they’re interested in these data points.”
In new construction, have the architect or general contract design pockets in the ceiling in order to hide the shading hardware. If that is not possible, plenty of alternatives exist for an aesthetically sound install.
Several options exist for Roman shades. The most popular, says Derk, is to find a local fabricator that will take roller shades and convert them into Roman. Otherwise, Crestron can do the fabrication using any of its 400+ fabrics or the customer’s own materials.
New Crestron Shading Products Coming Soon
Coming in December 2013: the CSA-PWS10S-HUB-CAEN, a power supply for up to 10 shades that “dramatically reduces time to troubleshoot wiring issues,” says Tom Barnett, director of residential marketing.
Built-in diagnostics allow the unit to detect when wires are broken, reversed or shorted.
“You can see exactly what’s happening on each of the connectors.”
Also coming: an entirely new Digital QMT brushless motor system in March 2014 “completely re-designed form the ground up over the last two years,” says Barnett.
Today, most vendors have brushes in their motors that “eventually wear from use,” he says. “This one is going to be one less part that fails.”
He adds, “Our goal is to develop something a lot more reliable, quieter and with a lot more torque in a small package.
Crestron’s new brushless motors will be available for all of its motorized window coverings next year. The solution is super-quiet and powerful.
“We can keep the motor really small but still drive large shades,” Barnett says.
Check out the complete 45-minute presentation here.
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Julie Jacobson is founding editor of CE Pro, the leading media brand for the home-technology channel. She has covered the smart-home industry since 1994, long before there was much of an Internet, let alone an Internet of things. Currently she studies, speaks, writes and rabble-rouses in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V, wellness-related technology, biophilic design, and the business of home technology. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, and earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a recipient of the annual CTA TechHome Leadership Award, and a CEDIA Fellows honoree. A washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player, Julie currently resides in San Antonio, Texas and sometimes St. Paul, Minn. Follow on Twitter: @juliejacobson Email Julie at firstname.lastname@example.org
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