Velux Active - Why make it easy?
Basically, the Velux Integra Control Pad KLR 200 was a disappointment. One will probably never understand why Velux does not open up its API. The home automation market has already straightforward solutions like the one from Xiaomi (despite Velux’s new Apple’s Homekit API). Velux is still trying to find a solution themselves and disappointing clients. Hence, the Velux Active with Netatmo is a costly challenge.
Although and as mentioned, Velux Active is an Apple HomeKit compatible system. However, while it allows supposedly controlling various Velux products via smartphone, but even more limited rules.
If you want to find out in advance whether the control unit makes sense at all, henceforth, it is best to check whether the existing products are compatible. Furthermore, most roof windows, roller blinds, roller shutters from Velux can be connected to Velux Active with Netatmo. Lastly, Velux conveniently activated a product check; there, you can check if it works with your product.
Velux Active Set
Luckily, the scope of delivery of the Velux Active with Netatmo Starter Set includes several components. On the one hand, there is the actual gateway, which needs a connection to the power socket. Notably, the room climate sensor and the absence switch each come with a unit.
Velux learns you to be patient
To set up Velux Active, you have to take a significant amount of time. First, you should download the app and then follow the instructions. The first step is the registration process; then it goes on with the hardware. The best thing to do is to have the gateway, sensor and switch altogether so that you can perform the necessary steps. As mentioned, it takes a lot of patience, as you experienced probably with the KLR 200 Control Pad. The Velux Active app will hang itself a few times.
Velux and Apple Home Kit
One can easily connect compatible devices by scanning the code or entering a code. Hence, if you already use another app on your iPhone to control your Smart Home, including your Velux roof windows, you can. Moreover, it also immediately control connected accessories in HomeKit, because the app recognises devices paired to the phone.
The connection to Siri also makes it possible to initiate scenarios via voice commands. A whispered “Siri, I am at home” is enough to turn on the lights and open the Velux roof windows.
Basically, Apple HomeKit also works smoothly with the Apple Watch. This is very convenient because the input device is always on your wrist, and you can control your Apple HomeKit very conveniently.
Of course, neither HomeKit nor the Home App is real revolutions in the smart home segment. It is also not always straightforward, and functional limitations have to be accepted.
Xiaomi Mijia Aqara
AliExpress has recently added the Xiaomi Mijia Aqara intelligent home hub compatible with Apple HomeKit to its range.
Once we receive this new gadget, we will start to make friends with the Apple HomeKit. Additionally, we will finally control the Velux roof windows and the Mi Home Xiaomi via one app, however, with unpleasant limitations.
Nevertheless and going back to the Velux Active solution, one of the most significant benefits of their solution is the possibility to use the app from anywhere, even outside the WLAN. Up to now this was not possible at all (KRL200), and occasionally, roof windows are sometimes forgotten to be closed – this from our own experience :).
Overall, we should be glad Velux never gives up. However, this Velux Active App is still away from being useful even a year after launch. You get tempted to keep on using the Control Pad KLR 200. At least, it allows you to program your schedule. Of course, we hope that Velux starts to enhance the app further; otherwise, the roof window market is wide open for an Asian competitor.
Velux has a quasi-monopoly and lets the customer feel it. The customer service is not up to the task and triangulates the customer with user-unfriendly support wizards. It’s a shame. Kodak hasn’t listened to customer needs either.
Finally, maybe Velux should focus on roof windows and leave the disruptive smart home automation to the specialists on this battlefield. Apple HomeKit is undoubtedly an exciting option.