In order for you to make your building or home automation system smart, you need smart home add-on's. A popular one is Gira X1. We love Gira for its quality products, but are they up to standard yet when it comes to making a KNX home, a smart home?
Every major electronics brand has jumped on the smart home bandwagon, or at least so they say.
At Thinka we distinguish smart home versus home automation. Not because we are language puritans (we tend to swop these terms back and forth ourselves as well). To understand the value of a real smart home, it is good to get the difference between home automation and smart home.
Building- and/or home automation have been around for years.
Take KNX as an example. Last year, October 2020, KNX celebrated her 30th anniversary. Yes, you read this correctly. In 30 years the KNX standard has developed herself into a market leading home/building automation standard. With a supporting association that does not only develop the standard further but keeps developing the market outreach as well. At this moment around 500 manufacturers offer over 3000 different KNX products and 90.000 trained system integrators ready to execute yet another KNX building or home.
KNX is great in itself, it is reliable, durable, secure and extensive. But KNX is not smart. You can not control it from your phone, you can not access it away from your home. It is very hard to create your own scenes without the support of a system integrator, who needs to program the scenes in ETS. And it does not have any automations. It just does not know when the sun goes down to close your curtains. And so much more that is not possible.
KNX is developed to ensure for devices to execute on a number of commands and to operate together. The commands and operation layout is programmed by a system integrator, scenes are baked into the system, and not easily changeable.
The way to operate the automated home started off via switches and is now mostly done via a combination of switches and touchscreens. And of course via mobile Apps as well.
You don’t need a lot of imagination, to envision a sales manager of a KNX manufacturer calling out to the engineering department “We need an App”. So, most KNX manufacturers have built native Apps to do what the switches and touchscreens do.
At Thinka, we made an App as well, only to pair Thinka KNX with HomeKit. We did not make an App to visualise and control the KNX system itself. We decided to use the Apple Home App for that purpose, which is already standard available on every iPhone or iPad. So why did we not build our own App? Because we do not have the slightest belief, we can outsmart the Apple user experience designers that have been trained in doing one thing extremely well: making simple and intuitive user interfaces. Like the Apple Home App to control your home.
Having an App does not make your home smart, in most cases it is just a nicer switch, a remote control with touch buttons. It is the software applications that make the difference.
They make it possible for your KNX system to connect to voice control of Amazon Alexa, they make the connection to your Sonos Sound system.
They make it possible to connect to your home remotely.
They make automations possible, like Geofencing, that triggers a device to operate based on your location. Or like Adaptive Lighting, with which the color temperature of your lights automatically switches with the time of day and the environmental light.
Gira X1 offers Sonos integration to your KNX server and an app to control your KNX system together with Sonos.
When combined with the Gira S1, the Gira X1 offers you more; integration of Amazon Alexa or the Google Assistant and secure remote control of your home. You can use the Gira X1 app on your phone and tablet. Or use it on a Gira G1 tablet.
Like the Gira X1 /S1 combination, Thinka KNX offers the connection to Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Sonos. Thinka KNX advises the use of the Apple Home App for visualisation and (remote) control, but if you like Android better, then use Google Home App instead.
The big difference between Thinka KNX and the combination Gira X1/S1, apart from the price tag, is that Thinka KNX offers you also the integration with HomeKit, truly opening up smart home possibilities, like scene setting, automations, family sharing, remote control, geofencing, adaptive lighting. Next to that you automatically have access to all the products that are HomeKit certified, opening up a wealth of additional devices to your KNX system.
Of course we will keep making sure our Thinka KNX portfolio works seamlessly with Gira KNX, like it does today.
Click here to find our comparison of Gira X1. Gira S1 and Thinka KNX