It sounds like Alexa and Cortana could soon be on talking terms, with the two powerhouses in tech announcing a partnership to integrate their voice control systems. This cross-platform integration will also allow Mircrosoft’s Cortana to access some of the more unique aspects of Amazon’s Alexa; from shopping on amazon to controlling smart home devices such as Rako. Whilst Alexa will be able to use Cortana for features such as Microsoft’s Office products, which is built directly into the programs.
As these ladies move into more and more homes, so is smart home integration, with Rako leading the charge. Designed and manufactured in the UK, this fifteen year old company has a wealth of experience in lighting controls, backed by an extensive product range. Rako’s innovative ideas and continuous product development has lead them to become a market leader in the wireless field.
If you say the words “smart integration” to many electricians unfortunately you won’t always get a welcome response. The daunting task of learning a new installation method and some basic programming puts many contractors off providing this service. Here at Opulous, our expertise is very frequently called upon to install Rako following a standard electrical installation. Our team can help you plan your project with your existing electrician or we can install the entire system from the very beginning. Due to the way Rako has been designed the cost of an installation may be more attractive than you think.
Rako produce wired and wireless solutions for new builds and retrofit projects, with both systems able to integrate with each other seamlessly. The RMT500 is a clever and compact 500W RF dimmer designed to fit through a standard down-light cut-out. Once programmed this device can dim GU10 LED lamps, tungsten, low voltage halogen and other trailing edge dimmable loads. For new builds, a rack mounted dimming solution may be more suitable, as these are designed to be wall mounted in an electrical cupboard. Devices such as the RMT-PILL makes retro fitting this system even easier. This crafty device is small enough to fit inside a back box, meaning that it can be installed into an existing circuit whilst leavening room for a Rako control panel to cover it. This innovation and ingenuity makes installations quicker for the engineer and less messy for the client, preventing the need for more holes to be made.
Dimming is one side of a Rako lighting install, but how you control it is another. There are three different methods to controlling your light; control panel, phone app or Amazon’s Alexa. Wireless control panels can be both flush or surface mounted, neither need wires and surface mounting eliminates the need for a back-box. Wired panels connect using a cat5 network with LED tell-back indicators. Using Rako’s plate designer you have the option of 13 finishes and up to 10 custom buttons. In contrast via a WTC Bridge your system can be connected to the internet for app control via smartphones as well as time clock feature allowing advanced programming, timed events, and holiday mode control.
The latest release from the Kent based company is the Cloud Gateway, this genius piece of kit allows Alexa to dim your lighting on command, without the use of a control panel or phone. Due to the new partnership Cortana will also be able to assist with turning off your Rako lighting system before bed. Rest assured that support for the Google Play system are also on the horizon. In addition, you can utilise the Apple Homekit app on your iPhone as this can also be used to control the system. By installing a Cloud Gateway and registering an account online, home automation devices can talk to Rako products over the internet. The system must include a Bridge connected to the same network as the Cloud Gateway. Controlling your system doesn’t just stop at a mobile phone, you can now download the official app to your Apple watch or ipad and play with the RGB colour wheel.
Home integration doesn’t just stop at smart lighting, Rako also produce a range of products giving comprehensive control of motorised curtains and blinds with options for mains and low voltage motor types. Systems can be stand-alone or integrated with lighting and have full app control from smart devices. The RACUB is a compact dual relay radio frequency switching module designed to fit local to a motor. Ideal for integrating motorised curtains, blinds and projector screens with the lighting control system. Combined with the lighting system these products are especially popular with the growing number of home cinemas. You can also use a host of other third party systems such as Control4, Crestron and Demopad via any of the Rako bridges. By connecting to the Ethernet integration is achieved using IP control.
This company really have thought of everything when it comes to lighting, long gone are the old fashioned mechanical socket timers, with a Rako system you can enable “holiday mode”. This automatic lighting and curtain function provides the impression that someone is home, giving the owner invaluable security when they are away from home. The lighting system can also be linked with the fire and burglar detection, allowing the lights to react by coming on when the sirens are sounded, turning your system into the ultimate alarm.
From one room to your entire house, Rako is suitable for many different applications, domestic and commercial. If you’ve got a project coming up or in production our team are on hand to help you plan the perfect system to meet your needs and requirements. All engineers at Opulous are all trained in wireless lighting installation, with the technical staff taking on the programming side. Get in touch if to find out more!