By Mark Warburton, Ivory Egg.
With everything that’s been going on over the last few months, it’s easy to forget the change of seasons, especially for those that have been on the strictest of lockdowns. As we start to see a relaxation of restrictions, it feels like we are all leaving our homes to a different world. For the northern hemisphere, it’s a bit of a gift as we move to summer, but it must be a lot harder in the southern hemisphere, having missed summer’s last hurrah.
Of course, these changes mean a shift from heating to cooling or vice versa, which is normally a key time for performing maintenance visits as some parts of the system may have been redundant for the last few months. Whilst there are always parts of a system that require on-site inspection, finding ways to test and support systems remotely has become far more relevant recently, and will continue to be a requirement for the foreseeable future.
Thankfully, there are a couple of KNX products that make this easier than ever, and best of all, they don’t require any changes to the customer’s router or the set-up of VPNs.
ISE Smart Connect KNX – Remote Access
Connecting directly to the KNX bus, the ISE Smart Connect KNX automatically logs on to the ISE portal. All that is needed is the product code from the side of the device and to set up an account. Then you can link the devices together. Once linked, a Windows application creates virtual remote devices for ETS, so remote programming is seamless and hassle-free. The device also has additional features that can be configured in ETS, including enabling and disabling the remote connection, so that the homeowner can be in direct control of the remote connection. It also has notification functions allowing the state of KNX Group Addresses to be shared via email or SMS.
Offering the same features as the ISE device, the Gira S1 uses the Gira Portal instead, which makes it ideal if you are using other system devices from Gira such as the X1 or Homeserver. When paired together, you can unlock additional functionality including Alexa voice control and IFTTT integration. It also works with Gira apps, meaning you can offer the customer a permanent, secure remote connection to their property, as well as using it for your own maintenance remote access.
Jung IP interface
Recently announced and available in June, Jung has launched its own remote access solutions using its existing IP interface. Again, connecting via a portal – this time MyJUNG – the key difference is that the remote access is directly managed in ETS via an app. With no access to the rest of the IP network, this is a perfect solution for projects with multiple engineers, or customers who have additional security concerns. Again, access can be permanent or configured, so the customer must grant it via an app or a pushbutton in the installation.
All the above products provide encrypted communication that doesn’t require any additional changes to the local network, so even if the customer changes their router, moves to a new supply or even completely changes the connection type, the system can still be accessed.
As we all adjust to a new version of normality, devices like these provide the peace of mind that an installation can always be accessed for maintenance or support, even if it’s not possible to attend the project in person. Customers often have concerns about this aspect of the installation, particularly around the costs of having to attend site, so by being able to offer a simple way to access the system, yet still give the customer the peace of mind over security, you can provide a high level of service at a greatly-reduced cost.
Mark Warburton is the Technical Director of Ivory Egg (UK) Ltd, a supplier of leading KNX products and provider of KNX training courses.