Show Report: Impressions of Light+Building 2014
By Stella Plumbridge, HiddenWires.
Light+Building seems to be the home automation market's best kept secret. It takes place over six d...
By Stella Plumbridge, HiddenWires.
Light+Building seems to be the home automation market's best kept secret. It takes place over six days at Frankfurt Messe every two years. The following are some of our highlights from the 2014 event:
[caption id="attachment_5037" align="aligncenter" width="506"]This year's Light+Building took place between 30 March - 4 April.[/caption]
This year's Light+Building took place between 30 March - 4 April, had a record 2458 exhibitors and attracted a record 211,500 trade visitors from 161 countries, with nearly half coming from outside Germany.
[caption id="attachment_5033" align="aligncenter" width="600"]There is a massive amount of home control technology on show.[/caption]
Admittedly, a lot of the exhibition space at Light+Building is dedicated to electrical equipment and decorative and technical lighting products, but there is a massive amount of home control technology on show, on stands of all sizes, including huge ones that are rumoured to cost multimillions.
[caption id="attachment_5032" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Some of the larger stands include a cafeteria.[/caption]
It is hard to get across the size of some of the larger stands, but they typically include exhibition areas, a cafeteria, and impressive meeting rooms.
[caption id="attachment_5035" align="aligncenter" width="369"]Visitors are ferried around the site by moving walkways.[/caption]
The size of the Messe is so large that it has its own railway and underground stations, and visitors are ferried around the site by moving walkways and special buses.
[caption id="attachment_5038" align="aligncenter" width="458"]There are eleven numbered halls at Messe Frankfurt.[/caption]
There are eleven numbered halls at Messe Frankfurt, but then some of them have multiple levels. Plus Philips has its own hall, the Forum, and there are many outside exhibits. The home and building technology of interest to us could be found in three main halls, and it took two of us five days to cover them to a reasonable degree.
[caption id="attachment_5041" align="aligncenter" width="480"]The ZVEH E-Haus.[/caption]
The message from this year's show was 'Explore Technology for Life - the best energy is the energy that is not consumed.' What is really impressive is that both the German Association of the Electrical and Electronics Industry (ZVEI) and the Central Association of the German Electrical and Information Technology Trades (ZVEH) were there in full force and driving the move towards greater energy efficiency. ZVEH also showed its impressive E-Haus exhibit that included several rooms arranged as a networked house connected to the smart grid, and which could generate its own electrical and heat energy using fuel cells, wind and PV.
[caption id="attachment_5030" align="aligncenter" width="500"]The ZVEH E-Haus app.[/caption]
The ZVEH E-Haus used just one app to control A/V, webcams, security, HVAC, lighting and motorised window treatments, as well as monitor temperature, and energy generation and consumption, all from a smartphone or tablet.
[caption id="attachment_5040" align="aligncenter" width="600"]The KNX Association celebrated its success in South America.[/caption]
If you are in any doubt as to the importance of KNX in the wider market, then Light+Building made it very clear - KNX was everywhere. The KNX Association also had its own 'KNX City' in the Galleria between two halls, featuring technology, presentations, and the occasional carnival dancer in celebration of the standard's success in South America.
[caption id="attachment_5031" align="aligncenter" width="500"]The Theben theServa S110 KNX system.[/caption]
One of the functions supported by the Theben theServa S110 KNX system is the ability to prepare buildings to take advantage of anticipated weather conditions. In response to an electronically-transmitted forecast signal, it could set HVAC levels a little lower overnight for example, in readiness for a warmer (in winter) or cooler (in summer) day. Imagine the energy savings if this were implemented city-wide.
[caption id="attachment_5042" align="aligncenter" width="600"]The Crestron stand.
KNX also featured on the Crestron stand, which was full of technology for commercial and residential building control. Among the other traditional custom install home automation companies present were AMX and Lutron.
[caption id="attachment_5039" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Stylish intelligent switches.[/caption]
There were so many stylish intelligent switches on show, some traditional, some very modern, in a wide range of finishes including plastics, glass, metals, ceramics and stones.
[caption id="attachment_5043" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Gira Barrier-Free Living.[/caption]
Gira was promoting symbols that conform to the European Standard for Barrier-Free Living. These are universal designs to be implemented on all user interfaces that include symbols of functions.
If your focus is mainly on AV distribution, then Light+Building will probably be a disappointment, but if your interest is in home automation and energy management, then this show is a must.
It will take us a while to fully digest what we have seen at Light+Building 2014. More in-depth coverage of the KNX technology on show can be found in our sister publication KNXtoday now and in the coming weeks, and if you made it to the show, do let us know your highlights by commenting below. If you didn't, make sure it's on your calendar for 13 March - 18 March 2016. I promise you, it's an eye-opener!
Stella Plumbridge is the publisher of HiddenWires magazine.