At Somfy’s North American headquarters on Wednesday, the company demonstrated its new TaHomA system in a fully featured demo suite, marking the company’s expansion from window-coverings motor manufacturing to developing home automation.
Gina Lutkus, national sales manager, demonstrates the TaHomA home automation system at Somfy’s North American headquarters.
Somfy is preparing to launch the system on November 1, when it will also begin offering one-day dealer training.
TaHomA, short for “Total Home Automation,” is Somfy’s first entry into the home automation control system market. TaHomA allows users to schedule and control motorized window coverings, lights, and thermostats.
The company believes that TaHomA hits an important, affordable price point — the system will start at $2,500 with 11 devices, and is designed to easily accommodate later expansions as well as retrofit installations.
“There’s a real need for an affordable, entry-level home automation system,” said Gina Lutkus, TaHomA’s national sales manager. “More and more consumers are demanding a home automation system that offers the convenience of total control over natural and artificial light and temperature.”
Somfy, based in France, has been a manufacturer of radio-controlled motors for interior and exterior window coverings for more than three decades. The company’s motorization systems previously have been integrated with other home automation and lighting systems, but TaHomA marks the company’s push into complete home control. By developing an interface to manage its own motorized products, the company has created a fluid, intuitive system at an affordable price point.
TaHomA’s GUI allows for specific control of different components, or pre-set “scenes” that can be scheduled by the day, or for any time of day. A scene created for each weekday morning, for example, could be used to raise bedroom blinds at a specified time, allowing the user to wake up to the sun. Remote access is also available via an iPhone and iPad app, or any tablet or computer that supports Adobe Flash. An Android app is currently in development as well.
The TaHomA system utilizes Z-Wave’s two-way RF mesh networking technology. With two-way feedback from the devices themselves, users are able to ”see” a window shade’s position through the TaHomA interface.
Somfy is offering a web-based demonstration of the TaHomA interface at somfytahoma.com/experience-tahoma.
Lutkus said that the company will continue to integrate new products into the TaHomA system, such as irrigation systems.
Somfy also has created a TaHomA Authorized Dealer training program to educate integrators about the TaHomA system with hands-on lessons and step-by-step training exercises. At the end of the training program, newly authorized dealers will leave with a point-of-sale kit and a fully programmed TaHomA system for live demonstrations. In addition, authorized dealers will be added to the “dealer locator” section of Somfy’s website.
“Dealers must already be Interior Products Experts before going through the TaHomA training program,” Lutkus explained. “We want dealers to not only be fully trained in the products they are selling for TaHomA, but the products TaHomA will be controlling.”
By requiring dealers to be Interior Product Experts prior to signing up for the TaHomA Authorized Dealer program, Lutkus believes they will have a ready customer base for TaHomA that already appreciates the Somfy brand.
“The motorized window coverings are already in place,” Lutkus said. “Now new TaHomA dealers can return to their existing customers and offer them the next step in home automation from a company whose products and dealers they already trust.”
The dealer training program is due to start at the beginning of November and will be offered at Somfy’s offices in Dayton, NJ, Boca Raton, FL, and Irvine, CA.