By Rob van Mil, KNX Netherlands.
KNX Netherlands was founded in the 1990s by eight manufacturer members. In 2005 a separate user club was formed by around 35 installers and systems integrators. In cooperation with the manufacturers, the user club organised workshops for one or two afternoons every year. A Starter Package was offered to people who were interested in getting involved with KNX, and occasional training was available at certified KNX training centres.
In 2008, the manufacturers decided to create a marketing committee in order to increase the market share of KNX in the Netherlands, and the services of an independent communication agency, Stijlmeesters, were employed. The first activities were to organise three network meetings per year for over 100 attendees, and to explore free publicity opportunities through newspapers and magazines.
The KNX user club was rebadged as ‘KNX Professionals’ and its installer and systems integrator members were designated as ‘KNX Ambassadors’. They were provided with supporting materials, including a completely new website, and a magazine, KNX MAG, which includes reference KNX projects to show to potential clients.
During the following years, new partners joined KNX Netherlands, and it now consists of various groups within the home and building automation industry. These include:
KNX Technology Partners – manufacturers who have products which can communicate with KNX.
KNX GroothandelsPartners – wholesale companies.
KNX Associates – other stakeholders, such as training centres, with an interest in KNX.
All of these groups are encouraged to exchange knowledge and ideas, mainly at the network meetings.
KNX Netherlands has several aims. The main goals are to share knowledge, inspire people to work with KNX and encourage them to invest in KNX systems when they are developing projects. We do this by organising meetings which we try to make interesting and inspiring.
Another aim is to grow KNX Professionals into the leading network of home and building automation professionals in the Netherlands. Our target is to increase the number of KNX professionals in the network from 300 members to 450 in 2015. In order to achieve this, we will encourage more KNX manufacturers to join and actively promote membership; establish training centres; use fairs, events and wholesalers; try to gain as much free publicity as possible; and inform technical engineers and architects about the benefits of using KNX in their projects.
Progress of KNX in the Netherlands
Despite the lack of hard research, we estimate that around 70 percent of home and smaller commercial building control projects are KNX-based. Over the past couple of years, the standard has also started to be used as the principle field bus system for energy control and HVAC in larger and even huge real estate projects where it is typically integrated with other building automation systems.
As result of the economic crisis, the number of homes constructed in the Netherlands fell from 80,000 a year in 2008 to less than 40,000 in 2013. The number of people who are self-builders is very small, and construction is mainly undertaken by large developers and social housing companies whose priorities are not home automation. In commercial buildings, automation of HVAC is still dominant, and installers of those systems are generally unfamiliar with KNX. The integration of energy and HVAC systems is still a challenge, and this is where we see great opportunities for KNX.
We are confident that as soon as planners, technical engineers and architects realise the advantages of KNX, its adoption will grow very quickly. That’s why KNX Netherlands is now focusing on these groups.
Plans for 2014
KNX Netherlands has several activities planned in 2014. We have three national KNX network events scheduled, where over 100 KNX Professionals, KNX manufacturers and other stakeholders come together to exchange knowledge. The first this year is on March 12th and it will be about the connection of AV systems with KNX.
In addition to sending out monthly e-newsletters for general KNX news and KNX product news, we will issue press releases around six times a year, and aim to have around 20 articles published in magazines and journals throughout the year. There is also the KNX MAG containing articles of reference projects to be used by KNX Professionals to inform their customers.
We are active on social media including @KNXprofs and @KNXNL on Twitter as well as the KNX Professionals NL group on LinkedIn, and we will also participate in several trade fairs.
Currently, KNX Netherlands consists of 300 KNX Professionals, 12 KNX manufacturers, 7 KNX Technology Partners, 8 KNX GroothandelsPartners (wholesalers), and 7 KNX Associates. The various stakeholders actively promote membership of KNX Netherlands, especially the wholesalers who are rigorously promoting KNX to their customers.
There are several benefits of being a member of KNX Netherlands. We have a large network of diverse individuals and organisations that broaden the business and knowledge exchange opportunities for members, and we are always keeping them up to date about the developments within the KNX Association.
We are active in producing helpful publicity about interesting projects that systems integrators can use to win business, and we organise free admission for our members to national and international fairs and network meetings.
If you are interested in joining KNX Netherlands, contact:
3130 KE Vlaardingen
Telephone +31 10 2331730
Rob van Mil is the Communications Manager for KNX Netherlands, and the Director of Stijlmeesters.nl.