By Yasmin Hashmi, KNXtoday.
Worldwide, the KNX standard is cutting across vertical markets and being increasingly recognised as the technology for making buildings more comfortable, secure and energy-efficient. KNX Association’s achievements are impressive, and in this fast-changing world, where the Internet of Things (IoT), cyber security and wireless solutions are of growing importance, it is reassuring that those driving the standard have a clear vision of where it is headed.
Following the KNX Association’s recent General Assembly in Frankfurt, we were keen to know what the KNX Executive Board’s thoughts are on KNX’s recent achievements and its direction of travel. We asked board members about their KNX highlights from last year, what they are looking forward to in the near future, and what their top priorities are for 2019. Here are their replies:
Harald H. Horst, Product Marketing Director, ABB Smart Buildings business Germany, and Managing Director of ABB Solar GmbH Emmendingen
With energy conservation in mind, in 2018, it was our pleasure to launch the ABB ClimaECO, the holistic HVAC automation solution for commercial buildings based on the proven KNX system. This solution seamlessly integrates room automation and central HVAC functions into one system – an important step in increasing energy efficiency and reducing operational costs.
The global trend towards smart homes and buildings will provide huge business opportunities for KNX manufacturers and all stakeholders in the supply chain. So our top priority is to push KNX IoT applications in order to drive the global trend towards digitalisation.
Martin Herms, Managing Director, Albrecht Jung GmbH & Co. KG
The biggest event of 2018 was certainly the Light + Building show including the KNX Top Event. At L+B, the KNX Association was present in several halls in prominent places. In addition, there were many presentations by KNX manufacturers, including, of course, those of JUNG. We have already successfully implemented our solutions for KNX RF, KNX IP Secure and voice control with KNX, in various projects.
More recently, we were very encouraged by how customers reacted to our innovations at the ISE trade fair in Amsterdam, and are looking forward to seeing how they will be received at the forthcoming eltefa show in Stuttgart.
Looking ahead, we expect the decades-long success story of KNX to continue. The prospects are very good in view of the interest that investors and builders around the world are showing. As a founding member of the KNX Association, we naturally focus on business models rather than on individual products, but now that the basic conditions for launches of KNX Secure products have finally been met, we would like to offer solutions as quickly as possible.
Adalbert M. Neumann, CEO, Busch-Jaeger Elektro GmbH
From a company point of view, the most remarkable development for us in 2018 was the launch of the KNX sensor portfolio Busch-tacteo®. We made it fully customisable and we implemented a seamless customer experience from configuration, through ordering to production by using one online tool. We were also extremely proud that its unique design received the 2018 ‘Best of the best’ iconic award.
For the wider KNX market, digitalisation is a key trend. The focus will be to develop IoT devices and offer digital services to make life for our customers easier than ever, so our priority is to support the KNX strategy regarding the Internet of Things, and to push the digitalisation trend forward.
Christian Feltgen, Managing Director, Gira Giersiepen GmbH & Co. KG
The most important event for us in 2018 was the Light + Building fair in Frankfurt, which is recognised as the world’s leading event for this sector. The most critical development was the finalisation of the KNX Secure standards, enabling us to launch products with this capability. In addition, the start of the KNX IoT interface development was another very important activity, and this is now in full progress.
I see the launch of a variety of secure products in the near future being a major step for the KNX standard, as are any developments that support the proliferation of KNX by making it easier for installers and consumers to use.
The next major step will be an IoT interface that is standard amongst manufacturers, that does not require a dedicated gateway and is easy to implement and use by IT and service companies outside the world of KNX. Indeed our top priority is the IoT interface. Being able to seamlessly and quickly integrate IT and service solutions with a KNX building automation system will become a highly-relevant feature in the future of smart homes and thus for KNX in competing with other system solutions. This includes the need to provide an open and easily-accessible interface for the fast-growing number of other platforms on the market.
Another more general priority is around the ease of use for installers. Lowering the barrier of entry for new installers, in terms of the expertise required to successfully set up simple installations, is key when trying to compete in the growing mass-market of smart home solutions.
Sietze Jongmann, VP, R&D Manager, Osram Digital
2018 panned out much as I expected, apart from the fact that KNX IoT could be game-changing the current ‘IoT Chaos’. Time is pressing however, and I am looking forward to seeing how this evolves, as it can be a challenge to get priorities in the industry aligned. Also here, standardisation versus room for differentiation is a key topic. In addition, it is important to understand what the control points are for KNX key contributors in respect of Asian-based competition.
My top priority for 2019 is to ensure that IoT/connectivity plans converge rather than diverge.
Oliver Borchmann, Global Vice President of Development of Home/Building Automation, Schneider Electric
2018 was the year of the Light + Building. Although L+B is not exclusively concerned with KNX, it was for me, the most noteworthy event in our industry, where we all presented a lot of new, innovative products and systems. In the field of KNX, for us at Schneider Electric, the secure approach was clearly top of the agenda with the presentation of our new wireless smart home system, simply Wiser!
I’m looking forward to the integration of KNX products with the world of IoT being achieved in a more seamless and simple way. Making the system approach broader and more open to new applications and use-cases is a key objective for Schneider Electric and our partners in the KNX Association. Our mantra is ‘innovation, innovation’, and we look forward to bringing the KNX IoT-approach to life, which is why we are driving this so strongly.
Jean-Christophe Krieger, Global Offer Management Director for KNX Home and Building Automation, Schneider Electric
In 2018, I was very encouraged by how well KNX did in terms of the number of KNX-certified products launched, participating manufacturers, trained Partners, and ETS licenses sold. Numbers are still growing and this is a very good sign. I was surprised that KNX did not feature more prominently at the CES show in Las Vegas since, despite numerous other smart home offers on the market, KNX is still the only technology that can embrace multi-application solutions with one software (transversal versus all the verticals) and which can guarantee backward compatibility since 1990!
Looking ahead, we need to get outcomes from the KNX IoT working groups to allow manufacturers to start developing KNX IP products and solutions for residential and commercial buildings. We need to provide Partners and end-customers with a value proposition and benefits linked to the move to IP. I also look forward to building a ‘KNX Secure’ brochure/catalogue for Partners to help them to create projects that are 100% secure in residential or commercial applications.
My top priorities for 2019 are to boost KNX sales around the globe in key selected segments, prepare for L+B 2020, and to build a story around KNX IoT.
Franz Kammerl, Product Manager for Siemens, and President of KNX International
I was struck last year by the increase in KNX business around the world as highlighted by the growth in Partners, Members, training centres etc. We also saw the broader introduction of KNX cyber security solutions in products, and a strong growth in sales of ETS Inside – confirming that we addressed the right issues and provided the right solutions for the market.
The next important step for KNX will be finalising the system specification for KNX IoT, and therein the definition of semantic interworking principles with the clear focus on interworking across different application fields. In addition, the definition and finalising in CENELEC standardisation of the Energy Management principles based on KNX principles, is also an important step.
My top priorities for 2019 are KNX IoT as a technical focus; addressing the application field of decentralised energy systems; and addressing the manufacturers working in this area. Furthermore, from an international marketing perspective, we look forward to the ISH Fair in Frankfurt, and to building on the recent success of the ISE fair in Amsterdam, for 2020.
Hans-Joachim Langels, KNX Competence Center, Siemens AG, Regensburg
I’ve been very impressed by the number of events that KNX Association organised worldwide and by its participation in various trade fairs such as Light + Building. At L+B 2018, KNX Members showed products covering a wide range of building and home applications, and at the KNX booth, true interoperability between products from different manufacturers was demonstrated, as was the Internet of Things. What I also find impressive is the continued strong growth of KNX membership, in particular the number of KNX partners to more than 70,000 worldwide.
My expectation is that KNX will further evolve and leverage its key asset of interoperability for a genuine Internet of Things that does not rely on proprietary cloud solutions for home and building applications. From a KNX perspective, my top priority is in driving the consistent extension of the KNX system specification for KNX IoT.
Thomas Sell, Chief Sales Officer, Theben AG
For me, the highlights of 2018 were the development of KNX Secure and KNX RF S Mode via ETS. The combination of both is very interesting, because a wireless system without security levels cannot be state-of-the-art. I think this development will become a significant growth driver for a worldwide system such as KNX. From the point of view of a manufacturer such as Theben, it is essential that a uniform standard is defined in a timely manner, so we greatly appreciate the KNX Association’s immense efforts in developing a common safety standard.
Together, we all have the opportunity to build a ‘smart’ future. Now we have to take the next step towards a web interface, semantics and web services in conjunction with KNX IP Secure. Interoperability is key: KNX needs to become more open for external access, additional services and applications, particularly in the energy sector. At Theben, our focus is on secure communication and reduced complexity. For us, these are the two most important aspects for a sustainable future of intelligent building automation.