Blog Post

3 Ways KNX Changed my opinion of Smart

Published on 09 Feb 2021 learn

My idea of a smart home up until joining Ivory Egg was smart plugs, off the shelf “intelligent” lightbulbs, a few clever widgets on my phone and some home assistant speakers dotted about the house.

Please feel free to scoff at my ignorance now.



Fast forward a few months and KNX has unravelled this mess of isolated solutions in my mind. I now see a set of unconnected smart devices solving some issues in the home whilst causing many more.

If we ignore the strain put on the home network, the fact my partner struggles to switch a light on if it’s not been turned off correctly shows the whole thing needs a rethink.

I’ve found that devices like smart plugs create “stupid smart solutions” from existing technologies in place of real intelligence and automation. They may be a good introduction, but the education must be done around true smart solutions.

To that end, I’m sharing 3 of the reasons I’m now an advocate of KNX. This is a fresh perspective from someone new to the industry. Take it as a reminder of points to share with your potential customers when discussing solutions. Perhaps it will remind you of why you also love working with KNX.


1. 500+ BRANDS THAT WOULD NEVER NORMALLY WORK TOGETHER TALK THE SAME LANGUAGE


Even in the smallest of homes, the chances are the lights, TV, heating system and speakers are all made by different manufacturers. Each will be an expert in their particular industry but will also have its own control system.

This was unavoidable to me. Clutter was a tradeoff for smarter devices. We have app acne on our phones, wall acne caused by light switches alongside thermostats and control clutter from a plethora of remotes.


Remote Control clutter caused by multiple devices not talking
Remote Control clutter caused by multiple devices that do not talk.


“...an un-ignorable vote of confidence from the tech industry as a whole in KNX and its future."

So, you can imagine my amazement when I heard over 500 manufacturers all utilise KNX to work seamlessly together. The scale and coverage of these manufacturers must not be underestimated. It represents an un-ignorable vote of confidence from the tech industry as a whole in KNX and its future.

Perhaps more importantly though, it means devices are talking. No more workarounds, widgets, acne or clutter. Replaced by a single control platform operating all devices together and in sync, the user can take charge of the building, transforming how it’s used.

I find myself saying to friends “You might not have heard of KNX, but you’ll know the brands that use it”. Namedrop a few of these and customers will soon want to know more about how it can transform their home.


2. IT DEFINES SCALABILITY


KNX is built to grow. By operating on a single standardised bus cable with a common language, it not only means different brands work together, but it also allows the system to grow easily using the existing infrastructure.

That means every time a manufacturer joins the KNX contingent, you can be confident in scaling up projects and adding in new devices.
a dedicated line of communication for the smart home, unencumbered by other users.


KNX means scalable projects. The sky is the limit. Images taken from Ivory Egg Kingston upon Thames installation with KNX Controls.
KNX means scalable projects. The sky is the limit. Images taken from Ivory Egg Kingston upon Thames installation with KNX Controls.


The bus cable also removes limitations associated with devices operating directly on the network. KNX gives you the option to have a dedicated line of communication for the smart home, unencumbered by other users.

Updating the hardware and software of the system is a service you can easily sell to support customers, while backwards compatibility means growing projects comes without worry. This is the backbone of a smart building.


3. IT COULD SAVE THE PLANET


Many of the benefits associated with KNX are obvious. Enabling full building control, saving time and having access to more manufacturers that all speak through a single control system is great. But what about the benefit to the planet?

Lower operating costs are a major draw for many to KNX, but when you look at the bigger picture you realise something more is happening. We’re unconsciously improving our relationship with energy.

The most efficient system is one that is off. Heating a room often means heating an entire home. We light a hallway all evening but only walk down it a few times. Many systems are not built to consider how we use space and thus energy. By becoming conscious of the why and building a solution around this we can deliver efficient automation that accommodates the occupant.

Furthermore, ventilation has become a safety necessity in more recent times. The ability to monitor room occupancy and utilise the HVAC system to keep occupants healthy takes this idea of saving the planet to a new level.


CONCLUSION


Since I joined Ivory Egg the number of manufacturers working on KNX compatible devices ticked past the 500 mark and innovations are being made every day to continue its development. At 30 years old, the pace of change is phenomenal and the ability for KNX to improve people’s lives is still only in its infancy.

I’ve been revisiting if dumb devices I previously thought amazing offer any of the above benefits to my life. Are the lights coming on when the room gets dark or when the system believes it to be sunset? Is the heating coming on because its cold and people are home or because it usually would? Is there even water in the kettle or is the smart plug just a gimmick to boil it?

In most cases these devices now sit in a box under the bed. KNX systems are changing the way people interact with their homes and energy. Smart devices are more of a novelty.

So, I encourage you, next time you’re speaking to someone about a project, think about the reason you’ve bought into KNX and what it means for homeowners, the industry and the planet. Give them the introduction I’ve had.

Author: Luke Thomas, Marketing Manager at Ivory Egg