Integrating KNX solutions for your smart home requirements

January 3, 2017

Smart homes are for sure an upcoming challenge. If research works tend to explore and share promising results concerning this concept, adoption by industry would imply many efforts. Using the KNX model, in particular the Easy Mode specifications, eases the integration of existing technologies and services into a single, open and standardized system. Even more, this model can ease market adoption, by abstracting home automation hardware and focusing on end user services.

Smart home service infrastructure requirements

 Adaptation to environment diversity As commonly admitted, each building is unique, regarding its architecture, its location and its usage. Other diversities, more specific to home automation and smart homes, can be also found dealing with legislation to smart homes amongst technical specificities (protocols and specific implementations).

Considering for example the French market, insurances companies did not approve the KNX standard to be used for alarm systems. Therefore, other standards or proprietary technology must be used, and interfaced with the infrastructure in order to be compliant with housing insurance contracts.

On the other hand, while typical home automation system has a relatively long life cycle (with an average of 25 years, identical to electrical installations), brown and white products have a shorter cycle of life, with renewing every 5 – 10 years (average for recent products given manufacturers datasheets). The technology associated to these products also changes faster, and therefore, systems must adapt themselves.

As a consequence, smart homes should be adaptable to each possible configuration. This adaptation concerns multiple field buses / control protocols management, host hardware / system and dynamic service deployment.

Costs control of Smart Home services

Smart home services individually have a very low psychological price, especially in the residential area. Organized as service bundles, the services may become more tangible.

Consequently, service operators are compelled to consider large infrastructures so that a volume effect compensates prices low level. This implies that the smart home concept must genetically include strong cost control mechanisms in all steps of the smart home setup process. We have identified following steps:

  • Service development: many services could be developed, provided that service development costs can be minimized.
  • Installation setup: this step is performed by installer electricians. Again the installation process should be worked out so that installation setup costs are minimized.
  • Infrastructure operation: operation costs should grow as low as possible with the size of the infrastructure.

Security in Smart Home adoption

Security is a key point in the smart home adoption. Within this concept, many needs should be addressed like privacy, access control, confidentiality, persistence, availability, logging, and many more.

These security services are provided to the smart home users by professionals. The key idea in this area is to centralize its operation on the infrastructure servers. This implies that the link between the controller and the server must be designed carefully regarding identification, authentication, integrity, confidentiality and liability.

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