iKNiX Integrates Sonos, RTI, Other Home Automation via KNX

At ISE 2012, iKNiX demonstrates a $2,600 system integrating Sonos multiroom audio, RTI remote controls, lighting, thermostat and other gear via the KNX home automation protocol.

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iKNiX ecosystem includes RTI and iPad control of Sonos multiroom audio and a house full of KNX-enabled devices.

By Julie Jacobson
February 01, 2012
The European home automation standard KNX continues to gain steam, as we are finding at Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) in Amsterdam.

One of the most useful demonstrations comes from iKNiX (formerly Empure), showing a compact system integrating lights, thermostats, Sonos multiroom audio, and other home automation and A/V gear … all via the low-rate KNX protocol.

The products are connected via a series of off-the-shelf KNX adapters that translate the protocol to and from IP, IR, RF, and relay.

“If there’s not already a [KNX] gateway out there, someone is going to make it,” says iKNiX chief Tim Skrok, referring to 250-plus KNX developers.

A longtime integrator who tired of the complicated, proprietary systems he’s installed for years, Skrok developed the KNX-based system after seeing countless other CE pros losing money, and customers losing patience with pricier solutions.

“How many customers do you actually alienate with [air quotes] “the smart home?” he asks. “That’s why we went with KNX.”

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VIDEO: KNX demo from iKNiX at ISE 2012

His entire demo, the likes of which would run a whole house, fits in a compact space in the wall, behind a clever graphic (shown below) that simulates a home theater.

He says, “We want installers to see KNX, make money on it, get sexy with it.”

KNX is just robust enough to send simple home automation commands over a two-wire bus. But that’s plenty to operate subsystems as rich as a Sonos multiroom audio system, for example, with just an inexpensive standards-based controller, as iKNiX shows.

In the demo, Skrok shows how a standard KNX keypad would be mounted in the bathroom, where a guy might not have his iPhone when he gets up in the morning. Pressing a button on the keypad, he can skip tracks and adjust the volume of a Sonos music system, thanks to a KNX-to-IP module behind the wall and a special driver. Lights, temperature and other home automation devices also can be controlled via the keypad.

Meanwhile, for richer control and two-way feedback, iKNiX demonstrated at ISE a new driver for RTI remote controls. The software and various KNX modules enable users to control their KNX-enabled devices via the same handheld remote used to operate complicated A/V gear. iKNiX is showing here the integration of a Kaleidescape media server with KNX-compatible lights.

What iKNiX is selling is the V2 controller and firmware for operating 250 KNX devices and the V3 for operating 1,000 devices. The products retail for roughly 500 Euros ($650) and 900 Euros ($1,200), respectively. The entire system shown in the iKNiX demo – modules and all -- might retail for about 2,000 Euros ($2,600), Skrok says.

The iOS and forthcoming Android apps are free.

iKNiX joins other home automation vendors at the KNX stand #7V197 at ISE 2012.

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iKNiX ecosystem with RTI remote control, KNIX thermostat, iOS interface and demo unit with KNX keypad

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iPad interface

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iPad interface

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Entire whole-house control system fits in compact space within the wall.

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KNX two-wire bus and various modules for IP, IR and relay controls.

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Off-the-shelf KNX keypad can controls basic Sonos functions


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