Guest Interview: Joost Demarest, the KNX Association

Joost Demarest is one of two Directors of KNX International, and is responsible for the KNX standard, KNX certification and administration. This includes participation in KNX specific working groups as well as membership in international standardisation bodies such as CLC TC205, CEN TC247 and IEC TC57.

In this exclusive interview with HiddenWires, Joost Demarest gives us his take on how KNX is shaping the home automation industry.

Q: What is your perspective on the home automation industry at the moment. and what trends do you see?
A: Thanks to the rise of the smart phone, there is clearly wider acceptance and awareness of the concept of the smart home. The linking of a smart phone with smart home technology and using it as a control unit, event from a distance, is much easier than it used to be. Also, rising energy prices and increased awareness of energy efficiency stimulate the use of smart controls in homes and buildings.

Q: What currently excites you, and what opportunities do you see?
A: Smart home and building technology can play a major role is the area of smart metering and the smart grid. It is KNX' vision that without the element of the smart home, an intelligent power grid or intelligent metering will not have the desired effect. With intelligent controls, a huge amount of low-hanging fruit is there to be picked, especially in the area of energy efficiency.

Q: What are the challenges facing KNX?
A: As KNX is an engineered system, KNX used to imply that a newcomer needed to invest in training and equipment/software before they would be able to handle their first KNX project. With the new generation of the KNX project design and commissioning tool (ETS4), KNX introduced a more intuitive user interface, and the free downloadable version of the tool can now handle projects with up to three products. Since last year, people registered in the KNX online shop can attend a free web-based training course on KNX and the use of ETS, and this has proven very popular. And if they successfully complete the exercises, they can even download a free version of the ETS4 Lite that supports projects of up to 20 devices. In other words, the barriers have been lowered considerably.

Q: What is required for the KNX market to grow?
A: When opening up a market for KNX, a prerequisite is sufficient active KNX members in that market. Secondly, it is necessary that interested installers of KNX technology are able to attend a KNX-certified training course at a KNX-certified training centre. And last but not least, a national KNX group needs to be active in that market, so that there is a central contact point for any question related to KNX in that country.

Q: What was your experience from the recent Light+Building show in Frankfurt?
A: KNX' presence at the most recent Light+Building was the biggest in its history: the KNX City in the Galleria was very prominent, there was also the impressive KNX member community booth in Hall 8 and the satellite booth in Hall 11. More than 100 KNX members had their own booths (compared to a mere 42 only 4 years ago!) and the new concept of ETS apps (ETS functionality extensions) was a clear success. Nearly 1500 people from 76 countries attended the KNX TOP Event, at which the KNX Awards for best projects were presented. It was quite evident that KNX is now an established technology.

Q: Where do you see KNX being in five years' time?
A: If the Internet of Things is not yet a fact in five years' time, KNX will at least continue to show that its proven technology is the best of its kind in the area of home and building control when it comes to interoperability, openness of technology, tools and connectability to the Internet. If the Internet of Things is already a fact, KNX will still have been able to contribute its interoperability and its more than 20 years of experience in the area of home and building control fully up to level of IP.

Q: What is your advice to the industry?
A: Be open and interoperable. Using KNX pays off! Joost Demarest is a Director of The KNX Association, the owner of the KNX worldwide standard for home and building control.


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