technology

  • Extreme Home Automation

    Posted on 9th August 2016 by Michelle.

    Just when you thought you had finally found a form of cooking your partner could assist with, the BratWurst Bot sausage robot looks like making the man of the house redundant!

    Now we all have increasingly busy lives with heavy workloads but do we really need a robot to turn our sizzlers?

    Here at Controliss blinds we are all about automation and technology, but this is surely simply a bridge too far! (unless of  course it can hoover, iron and put the seat down, then I am in!)

    Automated blinds, especially at this time of year, controlled at the touch of a remote control are definitely an essential part of modern living. Set them to raise and lower in your absence or close when the temperature rises, on days like today, is simplicity personified.

    With the Telis 6 Chronis RTS electric blind handset for example, you can set your blinds to lower as dusk falls, ensuring greater security as well as much need energy savings.

    Who needs to traipse from room to room, manually pulling cords, when a cold beer & bangers-in-buns beckon us to the outdoors.

    The summer is finally upon us, lets get out in the sun, enrich our bodies in natural vitamin D and go barbecue bonkers!

    This Post was posted in Home Automation and was tagged with Home Automation, Smart Home, technology

  • What is the Apple iWatch?

    Posted on 4th July 2013 by Andy.

    iWatch

    Yrving Torrealba's iWatch Rendition

    The internet has been awash with news that Apple have applied for the iWatch trademark in Japan. The first official sign that the tech giant is seriously considering wearable tech. This would be a sensible move as a wristwatch would easily incorporate many of the tech and functions currently available. It could connect to other mobile devices such as a smartphone to allow you access to more apps. It would also fit well into a control method for home electronics as it would always be with you. However, there is some uncertainty over what exactly the trademark application could be for with some reports suggesting it could be a TV product. Although Apple already has AppleTV but it is thought that they want to develop smaller devices that could work with their other products. Currently Apple’s biggest problem seems to be that the European trademark for iWatch is currently owned by an Italian company. Although this may be a minor issue for a company with Apple’s might.

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    This Post was posted in Technology and was tagged with apple, iWatch, technology

  • A phone that answers the door for you

    Posted on 18th June 2013 by Andy.

    Siedle-Scope

    What at first glance looks like a very smart cordless telephone is actually hiding a few neat tricks up its sleeve, as the Siedle Scope can also control a lot of your home technology.

    While it connects to your landline and works just like a regular phone, including caller identification, its other main strength is security. The full-colour screen on the handset can be used to access and control remote security cameras located about your property. So if you hear the doorbell you can look to see who it is and even open the door for them, all via the handset. It will even let you control your electric blinds, lights and garage door.

    The Scope is from German design firm Siedle, specialists in home technology with products ranging from intercoms to thumb-print scanners. Prices for the Siedle Scope start at £600.

    Find out more here: http://www.siedle.com

    This Post was posted in Smart Home and was tagged with control, home, scope, security, siedle, technology

  • A vision of the future

    Posted on 22nd May 2013 by Andy.

    Google-Glass

    Google recently let eager technology journalists get their hands on their latest piece of ‘wearable tech’ known as Google Glass. Essentially it’s a computer in a pair of glasses that, among other things, allows you to surf the internet, send emails, record 720p HD video and take pictures.

    For such a small device it is packed with technology. Glass uses Wifi and Bluetooth to connect to the internet or your phone and offers 16GB of storage. The innovative screen gives the wearer a view of a translucent screen apparently suspended in front of them on which information, emails, directions, etc are projected. Because it lacks a keyboard Google have incorporated several ways of controlling Glass. The touchpad allows clicking and scrolling functions, while voice activation software means you can prompt actions and search for information. Finally Glass uses an accelerometer and gyroscope to recognise gesture, such as flicking your head up to activate the computer. Voice, gesture and touch obviously have been around for a while now thanks to Apple’s Siri, Xbox’s Kinect and many mp3 players and tablets. But this is probably the most successful use of all three in a device. It’s a nail in the coffin for keyboards and another step towards invisible interfaces. As innovative as Google Glass is, it’s not without its problems. While it makes checking emails and messages less intrusive than looking at your phone unless you’re an amazing multi-tasker you could trail off during a conversation to check out the latest alert to pop up in your viewfinder. It will take quite a confident person to stand in a crowd telling their glasses to ‘take a picture’, which doesn’t seem like a better option to simply pressing a button. Because of its ability to unobtrusively film and take pictures it’s thought that many public places, like cinemas and swimming pools, will ban the use of Google Glass for fear of copyright infringement or voyeurism. Finally, while you’re lost in a cutting edge technological world all everyone else gets to see is you staring into the middle distance slowly stroking the side of their head. While Glass is breaking new ground for technology, time will tell whether it redefines how we interact with technology or just becomes an evolutionary footnote. We should find out towards the end of 2013 when the first consumer versions will be released. They’ll come in a choice of five colours and will probably cost you the best part of £1,000. Find out more: : http://www.google.com/glass/start/what-it-does/

    This Post was posted in General Posts and was tagged with glass, Google, technology

  • Home Technology - Virtual Education

    Posted on 7th November 2011 by Chris.

    The capabilities of the World Wide Web could create a seemingly endless list that is constantly being added to with new possibilities for all areas of technology. Now internet is accessible using, not only a desktop PC or laptop, but many more devices; from plug-in and handheld game consoles, to other portable devices including mobile phones, PDAs and tablets. This makes connectivity all the more convenient since it is available at any time, from almost anywhere you would happen to be. This means that, wherever you are, it is possible to read or send emails; media, clothes, or a set of luxurious Controliss electric window blinds are but a few examples of items that you can get delivered to your doorstep, purely through an online customer interface; or you may wish to search for information, or other people's views, regarding a particular subject. For those with very little spare time to sit down in front their computer, mobile internet access can be greatly beneficial in helping to get things done. Another great feature of the World Wide Web for people who struggle to get any spare hours out of the the day, is the online training course. Online training courses allow people to learn about a chosen subject whenever they find time for it, and even gain certifications for that subject, using applications and resources created by or in collaboration with professionals and teachers. One such website that offers the opportunity to develop technical skills through virtual education, whether the intention is to improve commercial productivity or for the simple reason of satisfying personal interest, is Bedrock Learning. If you have a great interest in digitalising your home to enable you to gain greater control over electronics such as your lighting, entertainment systems, window blinds, etc., Bedrock Learning's online courses can provide you with the fundamentals. From their course packages, you can learn a lot more about the capabilities of digital home control and how to get interaction between your devices. The courses vary in price, but all have an optional detailed course guide, they are accessible at any time of the day and if the training is being given to numerous staff members, a Web-based Learning Management System can be used by company administrators to control and track each user's progress on the course. With the ever-reducing number of limitations of the World Wide Web, companies - including Controliss Blinds - can endeavour to improve the range and quality of the services that they are able to deliver, and maximise convenience for their customers.

    This Post was posted in Home Automation and was tagged with blinds, control, course, devices, Home Automation, technology, window blinds

  • All Work and No Play

    Posted on 18th October 2011 by Jules.

    As resident Interior Designer here at Controliss Blinds, I dutifully volunteered to attend the UK's premier Interior design Show a couple of weeks ago!  Obviously I would rather have stayed in the office, but somebody needed to go to Decorex 2011, held at the Royal Hospital in Chelsea from 25-28th September, to take in all of the exciting new trends for the coming season! Decorex  is an exclusive interior design show for professionals and hails the annual pilgrimage for Retail Buyers, Interior Designers and Contractors alike. The Shows foyer was designed by renowned Interior designer Nicky Haslam; the theme was based around a mythological theatre set, and what a spectacular it was!  It was like a fantastical dreamland that merely alluded to the delights within!! There was such a broad spectrum of both inspirational and aspirational products being exhibited, but I was particularly taken with the lighting displays. One Company that particularly stood out for me was Serip, a Portugese company.  Their display of contemporary chandeliers was so dramatic, visitors were stopping to take photographs. Another stand that was particularly eye-catching was the Peneplope Batly Jewellery collection of lighting; giant, oversized illuminated pieces of jewellery, I felt like Alice in Wonderland, or was that just the champagne!! When I finally dragged myself out of Martin Hulberts Champagne Bar, (I was only there for research purposes!) I found my way in to the realms of Home Automation.  Now there is a topic at the forefront of design and technology.  I won't pretend to know all about it, but I do know that it is the way forward for all of us!  I think it will become as accessible and natural to us as the iPod is! Currently, many high-end projects incorporate Smart Home Technology; where a single 'operating system' such as Control 4, Lutron, Crestron, Rako and KNX controls multi media systems, lighting schemes, security and of course motorised blinds and curtain track operation.  It is an ongoing race to keep up to speed with this kind of technology, I am fortunate in that the Technical Support Team at Controliss can decipher all the jargon for me. At Controliss we have had remote control blinds for some time, both battery operated and 240V mains powered.  If you aren't aware already, we supply many different types of Remote Control options, from the simple Air 1 which is single channel remote control that can be programmed to control a number of roller blinds simultaneously as a group while for the ultimate in wireless control, with the benefit of advanced security features, we offer a programmable 7 day digital timer to operate individual, or groups of blinds at your chosen times of day, entirely automatically. The invaluable timer feature provides peace of mind, as it re-creates the illusion of occupancy in a vacant property. Our Controliss Technicians are now able to offer tailor-made solutions to ensure total integration of our motorised blinds and curtain tracks into any of the major home automation companies, which as a Designer is brilliant for me.  The more streamlined and automated, the various systems within a property have the potential to be,  the more our clients strive to incorporate them within their property, the possibilities are endless! Having extolled the virtues of technology, discretely integrating these wonderful systems and appliances can be trying to say the least!  My goodness, how much 'hardware' do we now have to accommodate, whilst still attempting to retain 'the look' within any given scheme! It is a constant challenge as an Interior Designer to conceal, sub-woofers, sky boxes, speakers and the like, but getting back to the Decorex Show, I came across an exhibitor presenting invisible speakers. Eureka!  I have seen them advertised, but have always doubted their sound quality and consequently dismissed them.  The Company exhibiting these revolutionary speakers was Kensington Home Technology, I have to say that I was impressed with their sound quality almost as much as their discretion, well worth considering! In terms of concealing the mechanism of our Controliss motorised blinds, there are several options worth mentioning.  There is no need to worry about where to install the motor, as the whisper quiet motors are already integrated within the blinds core tube. If you have the facility to introduce remote control blinds, it is even more impressive if the source is hidden, and the blind simply appears from a decorative pelmet which co-ordinates with the room scheme.  Even more impressive is if the ceiling is lowered or a stud wall cavity is created, the blind cassette then becomes totally invisible! Basically, we need not be intimidated by technology; as it is inherent in our lives today, whether we embrace it or not.  I suggest we trust in technology and enjoy the benefits and convenience of all that we can achieve with it. We should be mindful of the overall aesthetics of what we are creating, if it detracts from the 'wow' that is created by remote controlled devices, then it can't also be called beautiful!!

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    This Post was posted in Interior Design and was tagged with blinds, control, Decorex, designer, Home Automation, interior, Motorised Blinds, remote, technology

  • Cooking Up A Storm The Smart Way

    Posted on 1st August 2011 by Chris.

    The evolution of the latest home automation 'mod-cons', that start out as a gimmicky gadget and then often become a common home appliance, is driven by our desire for added functionality and convenience. Many appliances can now fully automate - or lessen the effort required for - everyday tasks in all areas of the home. Our own remote control blinds can be fully automated to operate at certain times of the day, offering the highest in convenience for window blind operation. The kitchen is a major area for ever-improving functionality in appliances. Predictions for the kitchen of the future involve devices that utilise modern technology and materials to reduce the amount of hard work necessary to get what you want from your kitchen. Examples of the appliances that could be coming into the home kitchen include a remote controlled cooker that will switch itself on to be ready as soon as the user returns home, a smart fridge that incorporates a display to show information such as your nutritional needs, and the captivating idea of a 3D food fabricating printer. The sales of 3D printers has been rising since 2003 and, consequently, the costs have decreased. The 3D food printer is currently only at the design and development stage, but has the potential to transform the way we obtain certain foods by offering a choice of foods that can be fabricated, in the home, from liquids, gels or pastes that are loaded into the 'printer' in the form of cartridges. Another interesting development in kitchen technology, that is closer to becoming domestically available, is Philips Green Cuisine Concept. The Green Cuisine features a large centre island tabletop that will sense everything you set down on it and can cook or cool food and beverages wherever they are placed. In accordance with the increasing eco-friendly nature of home appliances, beneath the tabletop is a composter that could allow you to reuse much of your waste.

    Smart appliances can even be obtained today that are unlikely to look out of place once the kitchen is filled with future hi-tech conveniences. In particular, the stylish, yet practical, design of the Samsung RFG299 French Door Refrigerator shows a lot of consideration with regards to maximising the product's storage space. It uses urethane insulation, that allows the wall thickness to be reduced while remaining just as efficient with regards to power demand. This refrigerator also features a 7-inch LCD touch screen that allows control of the temperature and the water filter and provides access to calendars, schedules, nutritional facts and unit conversions, as well as the ability to showcase photos. Thanks to the continuing improvements in home appliance technology, the next time you are doing a tedious task at home and think: 'I wish there was an appliance that could help me with this', it is possible that someone somewhere could already be working on the appliance you need.

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    This Post was posted in Smart Home and was tagged with appliances, automation, blinds, home, kitchen, Remote Control, Smart Home, technology

  • Human-Computer Interaction: Not Such A Long Shot For Watson

    Posted on 17th June 2011 by Chris.

    Whenever we receive a phone call or email, here at Controliss blinds, we are happy to provide answers to any questions you have about our our range of remote control electric window blinds. Many businesses receiving a large volume of calls now use interactive voice recognition (IVR) technology in order to help improve the service provided to their customers. However, the process of following instructions of pushing keypad buttons and speaking to the system, only to be directed to a meagre voice recording or to be put on hold until a real person is able to take the call, rarely feels effortless or satisfying on the customer's part. Imagine talking to a machine that shows a human-like understanding of what you are saying and responds with an answer that suggests a level of knowledge and reasoning, as opposed to responding with the same answer for different questions. American technology and consulting giants, IBM, have developed an artificial intelligence computer system that is capable of responding to questions posed to it in more natural human terms, much more effectively than other IVR systems. IBM's question answering computing system, named Watson, produces it's answers by running over one hundred simultaneous algorithms which filter through the two hundred million pages of structured and unstructured content it has access to, in just seconds. In order to test the capabilities of Watson, it's developers arranged to have it compete on the quiz show, Jeopardy!, against the show's two greatest players. The main objective in Jeopardy!, is to respond to clues given in the form of answers, with the questions that will fit those answers. The test was a success as Watson defeated both contenders and won the first prize $1 million dollars, which IBM divided and donated to two charities. Watson shows great potential in the future of areas that could really utilise it's abilities, such as the practise of medicine, where it may be used as a clinical decision support system to assist health professionals with the diagnosis and treatment of patients. Although, given the fact that Watson is made up of a cluster of ninety IBM Power 750 servers along with other hardware, it is unlikely that businesses will be appointing it to answer their customer phone calls any time soon.

    This Post was posted in General Posts and was tagged with blinds, controliss, IBM, systems, technology, Watson

  • Get Lean While Your Office Gets Green

    Posted on 21st May 2011 by Chris.

    When most people hear the phrase: 'Just another day at the office', the mind will generate images of a smartly dressed individual; sitting at a desk, typing away or filling in forms, rarely showing any signs of happiness, enjoyment or content. But with all the wondrous technology available today, surely the office need no longer be given such a humdrum stereotype. Well there are designers and engineers out there making it their goal to inspirit the area where so many, spend so much uneventful time. The workplace is, more often than not, deprived of the latest technological developments. But such an update can not only improve the occupants' quality of life but can also increase energy efficiency. In an 'Intelligent Workplace', heating bills can be reduced using solar thermal energy and recaptured heat from generators. Steps may be taken reduce electricity use as well. Sensors can be installed that  will measure daylight levels and detect occupancy to avoid the use of lighting when it is not needed. Office workers may prefer to be given the power to control the office themselves. This is easily obtainable, as their work station can be set up to provide a great amount of control over amenities such as air temperature and flow, and lighting levels and directions. For example, with Controliss electric blinds installed on the office windows, a Controliss blinds wireless remote control will give the user control over the natural lighting levels in the office and, as the remote controls operate on a radio frequency, direct line of sight is not required.

    The inactive nature of working in an office often makes obesity an associated issue. However, solutions have been made available to confront this too. For instance, Utilia produce a piece of furniture, the ScooterDesk, that is designed to stimulated you to gently move and change position often, training your ligaments and muscles, and stimulating your circulation and metabolic processes. Experts have even developed and tested a treadmill desk, that will allow you to walk while you work, to burn more calories.

    Increasing portability of office technology means workers are no longer confined to sit at their desks. In response to the growing popularity of this scenario, we are presented with the Globus workstation designed by Michiel van der Kley. This is a compact mobile workstation, with a rotating chair and pull out table top, that can be moved wherever it is needed, opened and then used as a normal desk. So let's all look forward to the day when 'Just another day at the office'; fills our minds with excitement, surrounds us with delightful technology and helps us maintain a healthy waistline.

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    This Post was posted in Home Office and was tagged with blinds, control, controliss, desk, home, lighting, office, Remote Control, technology

  • Android@Home The Smart Device Mesh

    Posted on 12th May 2011 by Andy.

    Smart phones can do some pretty amazing things these days, people queue up to buy the latest mobile device whether it's the latest iPhone or Android based phone. The increasing functionality of these smart phones allow us can conduct business, surf the net, see where the nearest cinema is, the list is endless. Now Android@Home team at Google are creating functionality that will allow you save energy and achieve a wireless mesh home automation network that can be controlled with your favorite Android phone. Google's Android@Home is new technology that will allow you to remotely control appliances in your home from your phone. Their first project will be a remote controlled smart LED light bulb by Lighting Science and whilst some companies already do this kind of thing from phones and touch screens, sky-high pricing can make it extremely prohibitive.  Some might say it’s the lazy man’s dream but it has energy saving properties also. If you’ve left the house for work and forgotten to turn something off, you can just quickly do that from your phone. This exciting new discovery will be named Project Tungsten and it seeks to make appliances communicate with each other (like they have a life of their own? Sometimes the washing machine does) and you will eventually be able to control the dishwasher, washing machine and a whole array of products. This technology will be available on certain android phones and all you’ll have to do is download an app from the Android Market. Sounds pretty special doesn’t it. So if you would rather sit on the couch and switch the light on without having to move, or stream your music collection throughout the house from your mobile phone, the new Android@Home technology could be the answer, but what happens when someone asks you to put the washing machine on and your mum has just called? You can’t really have the excuse of “Sorry I’m on the phone”.

    This Post was posted in Home Automation and was tagged with Android, Android@Home, appliances, automation, devices, home, house, phone, phones, smart phone, technology

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