By Stephen Payne, KNX UK.
More and more of us want to live in our own homes for as long as possible, whilst for others, it is important that care homes and other multi-occupancy accommodation are as safe, secure and as comfortable as possible. The term ‘Assisted living’ has come to mean giving support to both older members of our community and others with impairments or needing assistance with everyday living, and KNX intelligent technology has been employed in assisted living environments for many years.
In the past, intelligent control has implied more wiring running from sensors and actuators to control and monitoring centres. Such a mass of wiring in turn meant higher design and installation effort, increased fire risk and soaring costs. With KNX this is no longer the case. It is a system that does away with the problems of isolated devices by ensuring that all components communicate via one common platform, namely the manufacturer- and application-domains-independent KNX bus.
Easy to Use, Easy to Manage
In the assisted living environment, KNX is the basis for integrating all home automation applications and bringing applications technology in one easy-to-use and easy-to-manage system:
• Heating – KNX automatically optimises heating control according to the inhabitant’s needs.
• Ventilation – KNX reacts to the presence of people in their rooms and operates windows automatically according to their requirements.
• Lighting – KNX provides complete automatic control of lighting, day and night, in private and public areas.
• Security – KNX is used for reporting the opening of doors/windows or the movement of people from beds and chairs.
• Blinds & Shutters – KNX provides automatic control, subject to time of day and brightness, wind and inclement weather.
• Audio – KNX remotely controls sound and intercom systems from anywhere within a property.
• Emergencies – KNX switches on lighting of the entire property by implementing an emergency mode, and it provides the ability to use mobile alarms.
• Emergencies – KNX provides central control, with presentation and operation of all systems via central control centre, Internet, tablet and smart phone.
• Integration – KNX provides easy integration with security, alarm and door entry systems as well as BEMS.
The beauty of KNX is its ability to adapt to changing circumstances. As a person’s health changes – and more or less assistance may be needed – the flexibility of KNX is there to help. Extra functionality can be added or existing KNX systems modified easily without having to go back to square one and redesign/reinstall a new system.
Assisted living functions within individual rooms or complete properties may also need to be changed as new people take up residence. With KNX, the system can be easily expanded and adapted. As a future-proofed technology, whereby all KNX-certified products are fully interoperable, new functionality can easily be added.
Examples of KNX Assisted Living Systems
Properties and people of all ages and abilities are benefitting from KNX assisted living systems and solutions. An example of this in the UK is a care home property that belongs to a leading housing association. Thanks to KNX, it provides residents with the comfort and security they need. The system employed covers lighting and heating regulation, security and monitoring, central automation, and energy and load management. Features include remote control and maintenance, visualisation and operation, along with interfaces to the nurse assistance call system and the main fire alarm system.
Another example is a care home for people with advanced dementia, which is giving some control back to elderly patients. The refurbishment of the home also offered an ideal opportunity to build energy efficiency into the design of the electrical services. It was decided to install a KNX lighting control system that would ensure that lights came on when and where they were needed. Interfacing with other patient care and security services was also important so that the lighting control system could be integrated with them in order to enhance the level of patient care and overall safety.
Hereward College, Coventry, UK, is a general further education college that provides day and residential places to disabled and non-disabled students, including those with cognitive, physical and sensory impairments. The focus of the college is to provide a 24-hour curriculum, in an ability-inclusive environment, that promotes individual independence, and this can include the use of assistive technologies. Indeed KNX intelligent building technology has been implemented as the platform for the environmental controls that help students to access the facilities and services that the college provides.
KNX can help to provide exactly the type of support needed in everyday life. It is ideal for the elderly living at home as well as for applications within properties such as residential care homes, nursing homes, colleges, local authority accommodation, social housing and many other types of residence.
When you invest in KNX, you invest in the future. KNX is the only system that complies with the requirements of the European (EN50090) and the International (ISO/IEC 14543) standards for home automation, and is a truly worldwide standard. KNX also gives you free product choice: over 300 manufacturers with thousands of products, offer a variety of KNX-certified and compatible products according to latest technical standards, giving you full freedom of choice.
Stephen Payne is Vice President of KNX UK, and UK KNX Sales Manager for Theben AG.