By Gwenaël Leroutier, Hager.
KNX is often hailed as being the most versatile building control standard in the world, and indeed the reach of KNX often extends beyond buildings into other applications. We wanted to show the true strengths of the standard through a competition based on ‘hackathons’ – events in which programmers meet to jointly work on a software program over several days. This is why, in September this year, Hager France organised the first ‘Shake my KNX’ contest, an event that would truly put the skills of KNX programmers to the test.
We invited seven teams of experienced KNX integrators, each comprising three members, to take part in a 24-hour non-stop contest at the premises of Simplon, a start-up offering career training in computer code, in the outskirts of Paris. During the contest, the participants were challenged to a number of tests, including four programming exercises using ETS, one quiz on home and building automation, and one test in which they had to present their future visions of the world of home and building control to a jury. The four programming exercises dealt with real life topics such as the installation of a residential and commercial building, but also playful topics such as the control of a scale model of the Titanic.
Technical and Fun
In one of the tests, the participants were asked “Would the Titanic have sunk had she been automated?” Using the latest ETS programming software, they had to drive a 1.5m long model of the ship, while different compartments were filled with water to ensure that the two main characters, Jack and Rose, met in the security zone in the middle of the model.
Other challenges included the programming of a luxurious villa, an assisted living home, and an office building. There was also a surprise test in which participants had to build a missile driven by Hager Domovea software to defend the building against an imminent zombie attack – another chance to get them out of their usual field of expertise and test their technical skills. Alongside the tests, applicants were able to relax and socialise, and to enjoy workshops involving virtual reality, 3D printing and how to fly a drone.
After several tests, the team of Benoit Ogier, Mathieu Bremond and Anthony Mervaille of Idtique in Aix en Provence won the competition, and they then participated in final quiz amongst themselves to determine the overall champion of the contest. Anthony Mervaille was crowned champion of the first Shake my KNX, and his prize is a trip next January to Las Vegas to visit the CES (Consumer Electronics Show).
Interacting with the Experts
Rounding off the event, candidates were able to present the product or service that they would like to see on the market, to a panel of experts. Beyond the competitive aspect of the event, this provided participants with a unique opportunity to interact with the movers and shakers from the world of home automation. These included:
Joost Demarest (CTO international KNX).
Caroline Nivelle (Hager France Marketing Director).
Olivier Frommweiller (Development Director for Energy Efficiency Solutions, Hager).
Damien HASBROUCQ (Director of Promotelec Association).
Jean-François Baptiste (Director of Building Automation R&D, Hager Group).
Thomas Carnaghi (Building Automation Strategy, Hager Group).
Cedric Locqueneux (Community Manager Domadoo and Home & Automation).
François-Xavier Jeuland (President of the French Federation of Home Automation).
The contestants went through the non-stop 24 hours of competition with enthusiasm, motivation and good humour. The event proved how versatile KNX is for controlling a wide range of applications, and how KNX installers can come up with imaginative solutions to disparate challenges.
Beyond the competition itself, Shake my KNX brought together various stakeholders in the world of home automation in a friendly and supportive forum. We were very encouraged by the success of this event and look forward to holding it again in 2015.
Gwenaël Leroutier is the Building Automation Product Manager for Hager France. Hager Group is an independent family-owned company and a leading manufacturer in the KNX world. It is known as a specialist in electrical installation systems for residential and commercial buildings.