From KNX to bluetooth: new market opportunities.

We explored numerous worlds, that of installers, system integrators and architects, all with an eye to lighting technology. Now we want to probe that of system designers to understand what it is they need from an automation system. The world revealed in this interview with Nadia Baldone, Strategic Accounts Manager for Eelectron.

What do electrical system designers look for in an automation system?

It really depends on the project. Whether it’s hospitality or office automation, or more generally building automation, the requests are calibrated and tied in with the specific intended use and demands of the client.

In more general terms, the main requirement is that of an open, scalable and modular protocol, all characteristics that uniquely identify the KNX protocol, which has been the standard protocol for building automation for over twenty years. And lastly, but I would say this is fairly obvious, the most important requirement is the reliability of the supplier company.

What level of knowledge do professionals have in regards to the system?

The people I deal with are moderately informed, especially about wired systems such as the KNX protocol. These are systems that are already well-known and widespread, so technicians and designers know what we’re talking about and make very specific requests. This is not the case on the other hand for wireless automation systems such as OTOMO, which is based on the Bluetooth protocol. While it’s true that wireless systems are anything but a novelty in the automation market, it’s also true that they still need to be marketed. I find that they’re met with a lot of interest, but more training is needed to create a genuine product culture.

How do you present the OTOMO system to your potential buyer?

With incredible opportunity. With OTOMO, we’re able to offer a functional and efficient solution calibrated to a family of needs very different to those of large office buildings. In fact, KNX is often found to be economically incommensurate with the needs of smaller businesses. With OTOMO we cater to that exact market segment, small-to-medium offices where KNX may prove to be disproportionate.

And the most interesting part is that OTOMO is expandable and integrable with KNX.

What are the most frequent demands?

Lighting management is definitely one of the most frequent requests, but also the control and management of motorised blinds such as curtains and shutters; indoor climate and comfort management, access control in the hospitality sector such as hotels and student residences. The theme of indoor positioning is also a popular request for certain categories of workers.

Do you often speak with architects to propose building automation solutions?

Very rarely, unfortunately I might add. Normally, my first point of contact is obviously the designer of the technological system, with whom we design the concepts of “what and how it works” and “who does what”, then the architect comes into play essentially to select the finishes and design of the devices such as buttons, touch panels and sensors. But I have to say that on those occasions when I’ve worked shoulder to shoulder with professionals, who despite being very attached to a humanistic design culture are very open to the world of technology, it was a great experience and the end result of the project definitely benefited.

Although, as I said, there’s a lot of work to be done in terms of training and product culture, fortunately there are many professionals who have acknowledged the fact that design is much more than architecture, and that technology has become yet another design opportunity.

Sign up and you will be invited to our WEBINAIRS dedicated to the training of OTOMO products Are you ready?