One of the biggest differences between our first-generation product, AXIS Gear, and our improved second-generation product, RYSE SmartShade, is that we’ve developed our own hub, the SmartBridge, to be paired with SmartShade for the true RYSE experience.
But, what is the SmartBridge and why exactly do we highly recommend that our customers purchase the SmartBridge to fully experience the benefits of SmartShades in their homes?
The answer to those questions lie in 2 key areas:
- Key learnings from the technology we developed for our first-generation device
- Improved and additional features thanks to WIFI-compatibility
To learn more about this and why we ultimately developed our own hub, grab a nice hot cup of tea (or your beverage of choice) and read on.
Why We Created The SmartBridge
When we developed our first-generation product, AXIS Gear, it housed 2 main communication technologies: Bluetooth and ZigBee.
Although useful in many ways, there are several issues that can come up when a device relies on Bluetooth:
- Poor connectivity with phones
- Limited range
- Limited feature capabilities (particularly in the Smart Home integrations department)
This is why we also included a ZigBee chip in AXIS Gear: to allow for smart home integrations. However, it turns out that voice assistants (Alexa / Google / Siri) prefer to integrate via WIFI, so we had to develop indirect integrations through other hubs like Samsung SmartThings.
Because we wanted to make sure our product was easy for everyone to use, we decided to make the switch from ZigBee to WiFi when designing our next product. This decision has allowed us to create a more user-friendly product that is also easier than ever before to set up.
To learn more about this, check out this article I wrote on Why We Switched From ZigBee To WIFI.
However, current WiFi chips are extremely power-hungry which means that SmartShade would need to be plugged in at all times and would not be able to be wire-free.
By introducing the SmartBridge and changing the overall communication protocol from Bluetooth/ZigBee (in Gear) to Bluetooth/WiFi (in SmartShade), we were able to improve connectivity & robustness while allowing for a wire-free setup, in addition to being able to offer simple and direct integration with all the key voice assistants (Alexa / Google / Siri).
But that’s not all.
The SmartBridge allows other cool features like user accounts, remote control, and, an absolute fan-favorite feature request from our users: true Apple HomeKit integration.
What You Can Do With The SmartBridge
When compared to the experience you will get if you do not pair your SmartShades with a SmartBridge, it becomes pretty clear why we we highly recommend that our customer’s purchase the SmartBridge to fully experience the benefits of SmartShades in their homes.
Take a look for yourself:
As you can see, without the SmartBridge you can really only use the app and on-device controls for basic up and down control.
Let’s dive into a few of the great features that you only get with SmartBridge in deeper detail below.
Control your shades with just your voice
At launch, SmartShade will integrate with Google Home, Alexa, Siri/HomeKit with our SmartBridge and even more integrations will be available after launch.
Nothing is as simple and easy as controlling your shades with your voice. By just saying, “Alexa, open my shades” and letting your SmartShade do the rest.
Warm sunlight or relaxing shade is only a Hey Google, Alexa, or Siri away, and that is not all.
SmartShade is fully HomeKit compatible and has a HomeKit certified chip inside. This means that you will be able to control your SmartShades with more than just Siri Shortcuts.
To be as transparent as possible on this, we’ve created a short video demonstrating SmartShades’ HomeKit functionality:
Those familiar with HomeKit will notice that the way Siri responds here is how it would normally be when a device is HomeKit certified.
Scheduling and app control
Lower your blinds to shut out the glare, or open them up to enjoy some sunlight. Complete control is just a tap away with the RYSE app.
Set schedules/timers to perfectly suit your preferences from the time you wake up to the time you go to bed. Group your blinds together in the app to create rooms, making things even easier and more convenient.
- Individual shade control (0% to 100%)
- Group shade control (0% to 100%)
- Unlimited schedules/timers
- Add multiple users
Automatic Updates & User Accounts
Automatic OTA updates ensure a uniform experience so that users always have the most up-to-date version of the SmartShade firmware and all the great new features that may have been added.
By implementing this tech, we were also able to implement user-based accounts to give users even greater control of their SmartShade experience.
How The SmartBridge Works
As you can see, the RYSE SmartBridge brings some amazing features to your window blind by allowing your SmartShades to connect to your WiFi. This allows for voice control, smart integrations, scheduling, and more.
The way it works is simple:
- Plug the SmartBridge into a nearby outlet
- Use the included Ethernet cable to connect it to your WiFi router or an active Ethernet port
- Add your SmartBridge to the RYSE app
Once the SmartBridge has been added, your SmartShades can use smart home integrations, voice control, scheduling, groups, user sharing, and more to unlock the true RYSE experience for your home.
Become An Investor in RYSE, Inc.
Our vision is to put an RYSE product on every window shade. We want people to think of RYSE when they think of smart shades.
RYSE SmartShade, being an automated solution, just makes life easier – everything is done for you, so you can maintain a comfortable lifestyle. For example, you can have your shades open every morning at 8 AM to help you wake up and allow that morning light to brighten up your morning. Or, if you’re sitting on the sofa for an afternoon movie, you can easily tell Google or Alexa to lower the shades to prevent glare. It just makes life more comfortable and easy.
Investors, join our movement and get involved by investing in RYSE today: