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Interview: Edwin Hannink, Theben

Edwin HanninkEdwin Hannink has been involved with KNX since 1997. The following year he became a member of the KNX Association of the Netherlands and since has always worked for companies which offer KNX products.

Hannink is now Technical Commercial Advisor and Manager at Theben Netherlands, and has been developing the KNX side of the business for Theben in the Netherlands for three years now. Theben is a company which manufactures products for lighting control, timers and heating control. Using the KNX protocol, Theben is able to offer unified control solutions for building automation. The company’s use of KNX has been recognised by the KNX UK Association, which voted Theben’s Universal Dimming Actuator as Product of the Year 2012.

In this exclusive interview with KNXtoday, Hannink gives us his views on the automation market in the Netherlands and how working together is the way forward.

Q: Why did you join the KNX Association?
A: I believe the KNX Association has a key role in communicating a consistent message to the market. In the beginning, its goal was mainly to inform people and companies about the KNX (ex-EIB) technology. But now the objective is also to bring different market players together, to support installers and systems integrators, giving them the tools to advise investors and clients, and to guide end-users.

Q: What is your perspective on the KNX market at the moment, what trends do you see?
A: The economic situation in the Netherlands is not very good. The residential market is weak and the office buildings sector is practically frozen. We are all facing this problem, but for companies such as Theben, which focus on KNX solutions, this can be an opportunity. People are looking to offer something different – some smarter and/or cheaper ideas.

The trend is to have plug-and-play solutions, integrated with climate control. Investors of high-end residential projects are keen to see more intelligent house options, like the ones offered by KNX.

Q: What excites you at the moment, what opportunities do you see?
A: I enjoy seeing different market players co-operating with each other. By working together you can offer better solutions. This is where opportunities reside, in collaborating to find interesting solutions.

Q: What are the challenges facing KNX, what are its weaknesses?
A: KNX is facing a challenge when it comes to offering a better portfolio for climate control. The combination of these, and measurement and control systems could be stronger. To be successful with KNX in this market, there needs to be more training so that the level of competence in the electrical market is raised and KNX can be more widely adopted.

Q: What do you recommend as a strategy in helping the market to develop?

A: It is very important to bring the electrical installer and the climate installer together and to make them understand each other’s business.

Q: How do you keep in touch with the market, which trade events or resources are helpful/of interest to you?
A: We attend national fairs as well as regional events, which gives us a chance to meet the installer market. Also the specialised trade show for Domotica & Smarter Living is a good place to connect with installers, investors and facility management. Besides these organised events, we have our own events. For example, in January 2013 we had a KNX event which was visited by approximately 85 KNX users.

Of course, the KNX Association professionals’ events, which occur three times a year in the Netherlands, are also very good opportunities to contact the different players in the market.

Q: Where do you see the industry being in a year’s time?
A: KNX is growing in these times of recession. So a lot of companies will take this opportunity to adopt KNX and, by doing so, they will have a better chance to stabilise their own financial situations.

Q: What is your advice to the industry?
A: Look for changes and think out of the box more often. The challenge is cooperation. (for international)

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