ABB reveals its next level of home automation at IFA 2019

Over the past week, ABB has been showcasing its smart home automation solutions at IFA in Berlin, focusing on taking security and comfort to the next level for smart home owners.

The company demonstrated how its new open API platform will provide a central portal to attract developers to work with different APIs that integrate with ABB Smart Building’s ecosystems.

The ABB-free@home platform was a big focus at the show, with almost five million components installed worldwide. The app allows ABB-free@home functions to be controlled remotely and the Geofencing function allows predefined scenarios to be activated when the homeowner enters or leave a defined area.

The system provides over 60 functions and can integrate up to 150 devices per system. With possibilities for wired and wireless connectivity and ABB’s new open API, which is now available for integration with third-party systems, ABB-free@home makes home automation easier than ever. 

Detecting hazards
A new release at the show was the Alarm-Stick, which integrates ABB’s smoke, heat and Carbon Monoxide detectors into ABB-free@home. It connects to the ABB-free@home System Access Point via USB and communicates wirelessly to the detectors. 

ABB Alarm Stick

If an alarm was to go off, a push notification would be sent to the user’s mobile device, giving them information as to the cause of the alarm and which room it has been detected in. It also gives owners the ability to take additional measures such as turning lights on or opening the blinds. 

01_ABB-free@home(R) Carbon Monoxide detector
ABB-free@home Carbon Monoxide detector

Upgraded connectivity
The company has also announced its improved connectivity through the release of the System Access Point 2.0. It can connect up to 150 wired and wireless devices in one simple ABB-free@home system. 

It provides a commissioning interface and full visualisation for homeowners, from lighting to heating and ventilation and enables the use of cloud services. 

Intrusion alarm
ABB-secure@home is the user-friendly intrusion and alarm system for residential environments. Completely wireless, it is deigned to protect homes inside and outside from things such as intruders to flooding and fire. The anti-intrusion system is based on wireless technology using 868.3 MHz. It features a proprietary protocol that uses a strong 128bit encryption together with a uniwue rolling code for all arming and disarming controls. 

It is connectable with ABB-free@home, and can be configured via the ABB-secure@home central unit, which can also be used with the app. 

ABB-secure@home Alarm Panel

Oliver Iltisberger, managing director of ABB’s Smart Buildings business explained: “We know that when it comes to people feeling at home, security and comfort are two of the most important factors. That’s why we’ve developed new and improved solutions to take smart home living to the next level, so that customers rely on ABB technology for a safe, smart and sustainable way of living.”

Sound of KNX
It was also announced that ABB’s Busch-ControlTouch KNX app solution has been officially certified for integration with Sonos wireless speakers. The app turns smartphones, tablets, PC’s and the Apple Watch into practical remote controls for KNX systems. 

Command typed into the Busch-ControlTouch device can be read out loud through the Sonos speakers using the text-to-speech function. The Sonos speakers can turn down the volume or play a defined tune when a certain event takes place, such as the doorbell ringing or the presence detectors sensing someone approaching. 

This is the first ‘Works with Sonos’ KNX product which also delivers integration to support voice over and text-to-speech functionality. 

04_ABB i-bus(R) KNX Busch-ControlTouch
ABB i-bus KNX Busch-ControlTouch

In addition to this announcement, the device offers a new visualisation feature with room pictures and small button controls, 16 internal room temperature controllers, and an easier way of commissioning thanks to the build-in wizards. 

As well as dimming and switching lights, controlling blinds and using scenes, the Busch-ControlTouch KNX also offers the possibility to integrate IP cameras, Sonos speakers, and Philips Hue lamps.

Smart switching
A new generation of switch actuators were also announced. The new portfolio enables reliable switching of different electrical loads in ABB i-bus KNX installations. 

Starting with the launch of the Combi Range, the new Combi Actuators offer both switching and shading functionality in a compact device and are ideally suited to dynamic requirements found in residential projects. 

The range includes devices with a rated current of 6, 10 and 16 A, each with 8, 16 and 24 switching outputs. Looking to the future, they are digitally ready to allow for future feature extensions. 

Welcome home
ABB has also launched new solutions using IP connectivity to provide a holistic door entry system with easy commissioning and usage for enhanced security and communication at home. They provide interaction between door entry, access control and video surveillance.

The solutions also integrate smart home and soon, building automation control through the new ABB-Welcome IP Touch seven-inch panel. 

The upcoming ABB-VideoControl will enable the video surveillance system to work with different cameras to stream footage 24/7, remotely accessible. Videos can be stored on the local Network Video Recorder (NVR) or in the cloud. Remote access to door locks will also be possible. 

MyBuildings improvements
ABB has also introduced enhancements to its existing MyBuildings portal powered by ABB Ability to allow installers to easily select the right components to best suit their requirements. 

This year, the portal will offer new services including remote control and management for ABB-Welcome IP and cloud storage for ABB-VideoControl, enabling remote operation and video streaming together with the online storage of CCTV video and project data.

After the successful US launch of the new Smart Home Configurator, which facilitates the selection of light switches, sockets, and components for ABB-free@home, is now being launched in Germany. 

The new API platform will be a key innovation for the smart building sector, as well as the smart home market, enabling third party apps to be easily and seamlessly integrated with ABB solutions in the future. 

“With the latest raft of enhancements, ABB now offers the most comprehensive range of smart home solutions in the marketplace,” added Iltisberger. “Through the launch of our new open API and links with our well-established partnerships, including Sonos, Amazon Alexa, B/S/H, Miele, and Signify with its Philips Hue products, we are well placed to take smart home automation to the next level, so that we make our living spaces more comfortable, welcoming, environmentally friendly, and secure for the future.”