pioneers move forward with first KNX member – KNXtoday
With KNX now present on all continents, the stage is set for a smarter world. Yasmin Hashmi provides an overview of the progression of KNX in Africa and the rapidly changing market.
Africa. What a continent. So diverse. So full of potential. So ready for KNX! According to the World Bank, with the world’s largest free trade area and a market of 1.2 billion people, Africa is in a position to create “a whole new development path, by harnessing the potential of its resources. and its people ”.
Although COVID-19 had a severe economic impact in 2020, in 2021 the continent is rebounding. Africa is teeming with enthusiastic tech entrepreneurs and startups, as well as national governments supporting major projects, and embracing technology for all kinds of applications, including building automation.
The first KNX member in Africa
Egyptian manufacturer and training center, ELEK-Egypt has become the first KNX member (i.e. manufacturer) in Africa, and plans to launch the first KNX product “Made in Egypt” this year, which is a big step forward. Indeed, with the first KNX member now in place in Africa, KNX is officially present on all continents, which is also a great success!
According to Nour Shebita, KNX tutor and Managing Director of ELEK-Egypt, Egypt is a huge market with a population of over 100 million and is the gateway to the diffusion of KNX technology in the African market.
The building automation market has grown in Egypt alongside the economic reform that has taken place in the country over the past six years. Its use is widespread in the commercial sector, including many megaprojects such as the new capital and the new town of Alamein.
Shebita would like to point out that knowledge of the KNX market is high among consultants, contractors and owners, and that KNX is now part of the consultant specifications. In the residential sector, KNX is also well known as the market’s most reliable platform for home automation. He continues: “I think the main challenges lie in the residential sector with IoT and wireless technologies. KNX responds to this by promoting KNX-IoT and KNX-RF while keeping the same KNX values as the global standard for home automation and home automation for over 30 years.
Driving forces of the KNX community in Egypt
According to Shebita, the KNX community is growing very rapidly in Egypt, which is reflected in the fact that the number of KNX Partners (Certified KNX Professionals) has more than doubled in the last two years. In addition, many KNX members now have representatives and agents in Egypt. He adds: “The main driving forces behind the commercial sector in the Egyptian market are multinational companies such as Schneider and ABB, as well as consultants and specifiers. In the residential market, these are architects, interior designers and homeowners. As the KNX Egypt community grows and the launch of the KNX Egypt Users Club begins, we expect an even stronger influence from KNX in the Egyptian market.
It doesn’t stop there. “Thanks to the efforts of KNX members and training centers, especially in sponsoring university students who use the technology in their graduation projects, we have never seen such awareness of KNX in our market,” said said Shebita. “In fact, our training center is starting a wave of KNX trainings this year, including the advanced KNX course which will be held for the first time in Egypt in July. We are also planning to introduce the KNX Tutor course next year.
KNX across Africa
ELEK-Egypt, is by no means alone in its efforts to see KNX thrive in Africa. The KNX association first became active in South Africa, where it organized an event on KNX Secure with the South Africa National Group.
There is already a user club in Tunisia, and there are now training centers in Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon, South Africa, Algeria and Morocco, and an ever growing number of KNX certified professionals (Partners ) across the continent.
According to Abdelaziz Elmarchoum, Home Automation Engineer and KNX Tutor who co-founded the first KNX training center in Morocco, the number of KNX Partners in Morocco alone has increased from 22 to 83 in less than 5 years. Elmarchoum has also set up another training center in Casablanca, called Megadomotic, in which it welcomes trainees from all over Africa. As he says, “we were able to train candidates from Senegal and Ivory Coast, and we are developing partnerships with other African countries for the promotion of KNX.
Elmarchoum says that while COVID-19 has considerably slowed down the construction market and therefore the home automation market in general, KNX in Morocco is gradually gaining momentum. He highly recommends KNX for all new construction projects and works in the residential sector on villa projects fully equipped with KNX modules. “Megadomotic is consulted by electricity companies as a KNX expert”, he adds, “We thus play the role of KNX home automation design office and KNX systems integrator, from specification to design, programming and installation, as well as after-sales service and support.
Meanwhile, smart green buildings expert and EDGE-IFC, and KNX tutor, Dr Ingr Blaise Mempouo, says things are going slower in Cameroon and Côte d’Ivoire, although to be fair he doesn’t has been promoting KNX in these countries only since 2019 and this year respectively. Until now it has been used for lighting control and security, and while many professionals including architects, engineers, facility managers and building owners are showing interest, the High cost of KNX devices remains a problem.
According to Dr Mempouo, “In Africa, improving the adoption of KNX solutions for smart buildings requires a paradigm shift in the delivery of critical buildings. The need for smart building technologies demands leadership across the private, academic, public, civil and community stakeholder sectors. We need to be able to demonstrate the benefits of KNX with practical solutions, including project case studies. To this end, we have recently set up a new center, ‘Center Scientifique et Technique du Bâtiment Vert et Intelligent’ (Scientific and Technical Center for Green and Intelligent Buildings) at the School of Architecture of Abidjan, with the aim of key to accelerate KNX awareness and skills development. The new center has been registered as a KNX Scientific Member and aims to bring together experts from Africa and Europe to build on lessons learned and develop key recommendations to help the sub-Saharan region adopt KNX solutions while achieving the United Nations SDG. 11 (Sustainable Development Goal 11) with regard to the objectives of Goal 7. “
According to the World Bank, if African countries implement reforms that provide reliable electricity, close digital infrastructure gaps and make the digital economy more inclusive, it will improve connectivity, boost technology adoption. digital technology and create more and better jobs for men and women. Of course, it is difficult to make sweeping generalizations for such a vast and diverse continent, but if the dynamism, optimism and enthusiasm for KNX already shown by our African colleagues is anything to see, we cannot help but expect to see even more exciting developments in terms of energy efficient, comfortable and healthy buildings and cities.
Yasmin Hashmi is the editor-in-chief of KNXtoday magazine.