By Hichem Alikacem, CFEA.
Algeria is located in North Africa and borders Tunisia and Libya in the east, Niger and Mali in the south, and Mauritania, Western Sahara, and Morocco in the west.
Whilst Algeria is the largest North African country, most of its national territory is occupied by the Sahara desert, so 90% of the population is located in the north along the Mediterranean coast. The residential sector consumes the most electricity, demand for which peaks during the hot summer months, and as the population grows, so too does the demand for power. From a governmental point of view, there is an interest in saving energy, but this is harder to promote to the wider public, as the cost of energy in Algeria is currently very low.
Building Control in Algeria
Whilst the building control market in Algeria is in its infancy, there are some big projects on the horizon, and growing opportunities for KNX professionals in the smart home and smart building markets. The market in Algeria is evolving at different rates, which means that building control requires a more universal and more sophisticated approach. Domotic electricians can no longer be limited to just a technical approach to home automation, but must work with complementary trades in order to develop a real service offering that places the user at the heart of the system.
The high cost of fully interconnecting home devices remains a major barrier for the majority of households in Algeria, but with the democratisation of communication tools such as smartphones and tablets, combined with technological innovations in everyday devices, we are likely to see the use of home automation increase. Indeed in recent years, the market for innovative electrical equipment has doubled in volume and turnover.
Opportunities for KNX in Algeria
The construction industry in Algeria has recently experienced a real boom in terms of quality and modernity. For example, the Ministry of Tourism has plans for more than 550 tourism projects, such as hotels, resorts and tourist villages, by 2025. There are also plans for larger infrastructure projects such as university hospitals, university research centres and administrative buildings. This is a great opportunity for KNX.
Whilst KNX is not yet well known in Algeria, we expect this to change quite rapidly as the demand for comfort, security and user-friendliness in building control increases.
There is currently no formal KNX country group in Algeria, but the CFEA (Centre de Formation d’Électricité et de l’Automatisme ((Electricity and Automation Training Centre)) in Algiers already offers KNX Basic and Advanced courses for installers and consulting firms. Indeed, there are now 30 KNX-certified people in Algeria.
Our aim is to increase awareness of KNX, create a community that is rich in KNX know-how and reach out to other trades. So, in addition to training, we provide seminars and networking events for architects and designers. We also want to help more KNX manufacturers become established in Algeria, and to undertake real KNX projects that show how powerful and reliable the technology is.
KNX Projects in Algeria
There are already some very interesting KNX projects in Algeria, including a number of hospitals, a bank, and a thalassotherapy centre. KNX is also being used for the Djamaa El Djazair mosque that is currently being constructed in Algiers. This will be the largest mosque in Africa and the third largest mosque in the world. It will employ more than 580 KNX lighting control modules for the management of more than 50,000 luminaires for day-to-day and emergency lighting. It will also use KNX for HVAC control.
Another KNX project is the Trust complex at Bab Ezzouar. This is largest hotel and tourism development in Algeria and will be ready by the end of 2017. It will have four hotels with five, four and three stars, totalling no less than 1212 rooms, as well as offices and a shopping centre. For lighting management, there are plans to install KNX with 300 control modules and KNX 2755 presence detectors for halls and common areas.
KNX has a bright future in Algeria. It is already being deployed in some impressive large- and small-scale projects, and as the word spreads, we expect the market to grow. From our part, we are fostering an active KNX community that is outward-looking and cooperative. If you would like to join us, please get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org or the link below.
Hichem Alikacem is the Director and founder of EURL CFEA. Formed in 2010, CFEA is a company with a passion for the study and implementation of domotics in the residential and commercial markets. CFEA is aimed at individuals, companies, hotels, integrators, installers, developers and all those who want to create a unique and tailor-made living and working space.