Somfy Q&A: Exterior Shading Presents Dealer Opportunity (Plus, Try the Integration Configurator)

Somfy’s Integration Configurator is a pretty genius tool for anyone looking at a multitude of options for control systems, integration methods and motor technologies for motorized window shading.


If you made it to the Somfy booth at CEDIA 2017, you saw a few new exciting things from the motorized window shading company: myLink and the Somfy Connect Universal Automation Interface (UAI) Plus, integration over IP, exterior shading systems and the company's new integration configurator. 

Tom Murphy, chief operating officer, Somfy North America, says all the new options are pretty exciting, but can also be overwhelming for dealers operating with several different control systems and methods of integration. That's why the company brought its new integration configurator to CEDIA (featured on its website here). A few clicks and any confusion about how to talk to Somfy systems is pretty much gone.

CE Pro: How is Somfy keeping its edge as a leader in motorized window coverings?

Murphy: One of the benefits of using Somfy is that we have flexible solutions to meet the needs of projects of all sizes, whether it’s integrating into third-party home automation systems or providing motorization for interior and exterior products. Somfy also works with a wide variety of fabrics, styles, and fabricators to motorize all types of window coverings.

In addition, our variety of sensors and controls includes handheld remotes, wind and rain sensors, a smartphone app and even voice control. Somfy motors can power an awning or insect screen in a backyard and an motorized shade in a bedroom. Our flexible options are work for any kind of project.

Tom Murphy, chief operating officer,
Somfy North America

What are the integration options for Somfy motors?

It’s now possible to integrate Somfy motors over IP, whether working with Radio Technology Somfy (RTS) or Somfy Digital Network (SDN) motors.

The myLink and its SDN counterpart, the Somfy Connect Universal Automation Interface (UAI) Plus, add a standardized approach to Somfy integration. Both offer new IP solutions, openness through drivers and the Somfy Synergy API, and consistency for integrators from project to project.

There are many ways to talk to Somfy, which is why we’ve built an integration configurator on our website to help integrators to easily choose the right solution for their project.

Exterior motorized window coverings are so popular in other parts of the world. 

Why do you think they have less traction in the U.S.?

One of the reasons exterior motorized window coverings like awnings, rolling shutters, and even screens are more popular in other parts of the world is because of the relatively affordable energy costs in the U.S. Americans tend to run their air conditioning versus using motorized products to manage heat gain in the home.

However, the exterior motorized market is growing in the U.S. a more Americans discover the comfort, convenience and energy saving benefits. In fact, exterior screens are one of our fastest growing markets in the U.S. Consumers want protection from glare and heat, and are quickly realizing that exterior screens keep them cool without blocking the view. We like to say exterior screens are like sunglasses for your windows! Plus they keep out insects.

“Exterior screens are one of our fastest growing markets in the U.S. Consumers want protection from glare and heat, and are quickly realizing that exterior screens keep them cool without blocking the view.”

— Tom Murphy, Somfy

What did Somfy show at CEDIA 2017?

For the first time, Somfy brought our exterior solutions to the CEDIA market with 16-foot tower with solutions displayed, including our wide motor range and ultra-quiet motors.

Our booth also featured our integration configurator. Somfy’s wide network of fabricators is a great resource and integrators explored our digital fabricator map, which immediately identifies partners that can fabricate the end product for any job with any specification.

What is the biggest misconception about Somfy?

One misconception is that we produce the end products we motorize, whether those are blinds, shades, awnings or screens. At Somfy we produce high quality motors and controls that power these end products, but we don’t manufacture the end products themselves. That flexibility allows Somfy motors to work with a wide variety of fabricators, fabric types and styles.

What advice would you give to integrators who are new to the motorized shading business?

Professionals that include motorized window coverings as part of their package are more competitive as end users continue to seek automation to support energy efficiency and home comfort.

The motorized shading market is only going to keep growing with both interior and exterior products becoming more in demand.