By Yasmin Hashmi, KNXtoday
KNX UK hosted a Technology Forum for KNX Members, KNX Test Labs and manufacturer companies interested in the latest KNX technology and developments. The event took place on 14 September 2017 in Tower Bridge, over the River Thames, London, and provided participants with the opportunity to find out some fascinating facts about how KNX is performing in the UK and internationally; what the roadmap for KNX IoT is; how projects are safe from attack thanks to KNX Secure; and the benefits of ETS Inside, including a live programming demonstration.
KNX in the UK
Iain Gordon of GES Digital and President of KNX UK, opened proceedings by explaining KNX UK’s mission, the benefits of being a member, and how the market in the UK is developing. Referring to BSRIA market data, Gordon showed how building control is growing in the UK and is estimated to be worth GBP£28 million in terms of product, or GBP£50 million including labour. KNX’s share of the control market is now 9%, whereas 5 years ago it was unmeasurable. Furthermore, KNX is the UK’s number one choice for whole-home control, with a 27% share of the market. Stand alone products are following the same trajectory as whole-home systems, and will have overtaken them by 2020. Gordon suggested that market disruptors such as Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Samsung and Apple, are creating a consumer expectation of ‘just being able to do it’, but they are unlikely to manufacture the dimmers and actuators required – which provides a great opportunity for KNX. Gordon went on to explain why KNX is a logical choice for professionals, “In fifteen years I’ve had perhaps one power supply fail,” he claimed, “which is why I always specify KNX.”
KNX consultant Paul Foulkes then provided some impressive facts and figures about KNX internationally. He noted that there is a new executive board which will be sitting for three years, there are now over 400 manufacturer Members in 41 countries, and 44 KNX National Groups – including one in China, where KNX is used in the majority of home/light commercial installations. In addition, almost 70,000 people have been trained to become KNX Partners in 159 countries, thanks to 410 training centres in 67 countries and the online ETS Campus that averages over 1300 users a month. Other milestones include the launch of the programming software ETS 5.5 also known as KNX Secure; KNX IoT; and ETS Inside which will make KNX accessible to smaller projects. Looking ahead, Foulkes thinks that voice interaction will become an interesting market, especially in assisted living applications.
KNX IoT Strategy
KNX Association’s Tool Manager, André Hänel, then gave a fascinating presentation on the Association’s IoT strategy, from the early days of making bridges manually using third party products and KNX Net/IP; to the current standardised unifying solution based on existing web services (OBIX, OPC/UA and BACnet/WS) using KNX IoT 1.0. KNX IoT 2.0, planned for 2018, will offer plug and play connection to the outside world from the perspective of a KNX installation, using standard IP-based IT formats, whilst KNX IoT 3.0, due in 2020, will support KNX IoT devices within the KNX ecosystem. Hänel gave some examples of what has been achieved using KNX IoT 1.0 including a project where this was used by KNX professionals to control a hotel booking and monitoring system. He also pointed out that KNX Partners can test their own IoT 2.0 gateway by downloading the Web Services Exporter ETS app and using it with a low-cost computer, such as the Raspberry Pi, as a test platform.
Andy Davis of Siemens explained KNX Association’s double-pronged approach to system security, namely KNX Data Secure and KNX IP Secure, both of which are available in ETS5.5. The former ensures secure transmission within a system, whilst the latter ensures secure transmission over the Internet. Davis went on to stress that existing KNX systems are inherently secure, but systems integrators should still ensure that their IT systems are also secure, incorporating firewalls etc. He went on to discuss how existing systems can be incorporated into KNX Secure installations, and gave examples of how KNX Secure can be used in practice.
Mark Warburton of Ivory Egg gave a comprehensive overview of ETS Inside. Designed to make entry into the KNX world easier, especially for electricians, ETS Inside reduces start up effort, allows the end-user to change basic settings, and stores the project in the user’s building. Warburton went on to explain how ETS Inside can be programmed using an IoS, Windows or Android device, and that it supports 13 languages. He noted that in 2018, a Linux version is planned, and that synchronisation between ETS5 and ETS Inside projects will be possible. The session ended with a practical demonstration using a tablet to show how simple it is to program using ETS Inside, accompanied by an impressive demo kit of various switches that Warburton had programmed using the software.
The day was concluded with a fascinating tour of Tower Bridge, including the original steam engines that were used to lift the two halves of the road bridge until 1974.
The Technology Forum provided an excellent opportunity to get first-hand information about the latest KNX technology and ongoing developments, from experts in the field in a relaxed atmosphere within an awe-inspiring venue.
The next event will take place in the National Space Centre, Leicester, and promises to be an equally rich experience. For more details and to register, see the KNX UK events page.