In Part 3 of her four-part series on Light + Building, the world’s leading trade show for home and building automation, Yasmin Hashmi gives an overview of the biggest players in the KNX market and what trends are setting them up.
Above all else at Light + Building 2022 there was a green theme, and this was clearly evident on the Schneider Electric stand. The company put its money where its mouth is on ‘Energy Efficiency and Sustainability’ with an impressive carbon-neutral booth that used secondhand carpeting, repurposed pallets, biodegradable materials and even grass paper badges for staff. In addition, the company is recycling plastic netting recovered from the ocean for some of its switches and sockets. On the KNX front, Schneider Electric has launched a KNX Hybrid Spacelogic module, which provides a gateway between KNX systems and the Schneider Wiser portfolio of Zigbee devices.
Schneider Electric was also promoting the new System D KNX pushbutton, which is highly modular, supporting 16 different button combinations and a choice of icons and finishes.
ABB also had an impressive booth with the theme ‘Mission to Zero’. There was a scale model of a carbon-neutral factory of the future, with power generation, storage and charging based on the ABB Ability Optimax scalable energy management system, plus an impressive auditorium with presentations on Smarter City.
The company’s new KNX products included the ABB SmartTouch touch screen in a 10” version. Available in black and white with a choice of frames, it offers over 450 features, is fully customizable and can be integrated with IP cameras. A prototype of a 4” version of the ABB RoomTouch touch screen with up to 12 functions was also shown. Another first for ABB is the ability to offer a full range of KNX control products not only for lighting and shades, but also HVAC, thanks to ClimaECO, which has all the necessary interfaces for a building, including a direct interface to the boiler.
KNX in the E-Haus
A good example of how KNX can be used to save energy could be seen at the E-Haus, a large stand organized by Messe Frankfurt in cooperation with ZVEH (Central Association of German Electricians).
A KNX demo panel showed how, using artificial intelligence, a cross-building energy management system linked to a smart meter can decide whether it is cheaper to use grid electricity or self-produced PV-charged battery storage for applications such as lighting, heating or electric vehicle charging.
Elsewhere in the E-haus was a HEMS (Home Energy Management Systems) demo area showcasing real-life appliances managed by the Alexander Maier Eisbaer multi-protocol gateway visualization, allowing KNX to be mixed with other protocols. Examples of different functional models were shown, such as electric vehicle charging and home energy planning. For electric vehicle charging, the system supports a mix of charging stations and multiple cars. It can respond dynamically depending on the amount of power coming in, for example from a photovoltaic system, and prioritize power distribution based on user preference or the car that requires it the most. For energy planning, the visualization can use energy prices and the PV power forecast to determine the direction of the PV system, when to run the devices and from which source.
Also in the E-Haus was an area showcasing the future of assisted living, with a KNX-controllable shower from Franke, Future Shape’s SensFloor capacitive flooring that is sensitive to falls and can send an alarm, the voice assistant ProKNX Aragon and various switches and sensors for VOC and motion that can trigger a variety of actions. The idea is that the user can control the system or ask for help using voice or by pressing a button, and receive information through the speaker or text. Typical switch and sensor events can be logged, and if unusual activity (or inactivity) is detected, alarms can be sent. Voice can also be used to control, for example, the ambiance of the room, the lighting in the shower, and the temperature of the water.
In addition to assisted living technology, a MUNEVO headset was shown to control a wheelchair and even the KNX-equipped building through slight head movements. In addition, a chair-mounted ProKNX Aragon smart speaker offered voice recognition.
Multi-protocol integration was another hot topic at Light + Building 2022. In fact, Siemens had three main messages: 1) Focus on room devices and multiple communication protocols, so if you can grow the room, you can grow the buildings ; 2) extend systems with IoT devices; and 3) improve indoor air quality using multi-sensors.
The company launched a complete Zigbee-based smart home solution in May and is working on a KNX solution in the same style. New products at the show included the RDG200 KNX thermostat with built-in CO2 sensor to provide a visual indication of good air quality; a KNX valve actuator and a fan coil actuator; and a preview of a DIN rail portfolio that includes a thermal drive actuator that will control valves in radiators and provide HVAC control and pump control as well as logic functions. Siemens also proudly presented its Touch Control TC5 which won the KNX Best Product Award 2022.
New Gira products include the Pushbutton Sensor 4 System 55 which fits into a standard Gira System 55 frame, is KNX Secure, is available in different colors and comes with 2, 4 or 6 buttons that can be oriented horizontally or vertically. For heating, the 6-gang heating actuator is a 6-channel heating actuator with KNX Secure and 12 integrated controllers. For the coupling of systems, the new Gira F1 is designed to couple different networks, regulating the communication between private and public KNX networks. A new Gira KNX RF battery button was also on display to expand existing KNX installations where cables cannot be laid. It fits Gira System 3000 inserts and is available in 1-, 2-, or 3-button versions that can be oriented horizontally or vertically.
Theben wanted to point out that all their new products are KNX Data Secure. This includes the new range of Ion switches available in black, white or silver. Designed to be highly functional yet simple to operate, the Ion also supports Bluetooth functionality with the Ion 8, for connectivity with a mobile device. For heating, the new EUI KNX will switch up to 16A for electric radiators, while the Cheops drive KNX provides motorized heater valve control with LED indicators. For presence and motion detection, thePixa from Theben is now available as a 24V variant so that it can be powered from the KNX bus. It detects contrast instead of IR and can detect up to 6 zones in one area. It is associated with a free customizable application for Bluetooth mobile devices.
And finally, I think Jung would have to win the award for most color choices for his switches. New from the company is the LS Touch slide-out room controller in the same frame size as the Jung LS990. It allows the selection and programming of scenes, customization of models and frames (including the range of Le Corbusier colors) and has a proximity sensor. It is also available in a very flat surface mount frame.
The goals of the big players at Light + Building 2022 were, in a nutshell, to make things green, safe, easy to use, and beautiful. Some of these may seem relatively easy to achieve, but even with a single button, the thinking, precision engineering, testing, certification, and marketing involved require significant investment, and as solutions expand and have to interacting with other protocols and systems also increases the challenges. mount. We expect the largest companies and organizations to envision and inspire the industry, and based on the reaction to the show, they certainly did. In fact, there were over 120 exhibitors showcasing KNX products at Light + Building 2022, all following some or all of the same goals. In Part 4 of this four-part series, we’ll take a closer look at some of their solutions.
Yasmin Hashmi is the editor of KNXtoday magazine.