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Interview: Vidar Thomassen, Zennio UK

Vidar Thomassen has worked in the lighting and controls industry for 30 years, almost 20 of which have been spent in the UK. For the past 25 years, he has been involved with KNX and has worked with brands such as Jung and Berker, and for the last seven years, exclusively with Zennio. In late 2019 he helped to set up Zennio UK Limited as a 100% owned subsidiary of Zennio AyT SL.

In this interview with KNXtoday, Vidar gives a background to the company, why it set up a UK office, how it is dealing with the coronavirus pandemic and what opportunities lie ahead.

KNXtoday: What is Zennio’s background?

VT: Zennio is a Spanish company formed in 2004. Over the last 15 years we have grown to one of the most significant KNX manufacturers, currently employing more than 200 people and responsible for more than 12,000 projects in over 90 countries. Our comprehensive catalogue currently covers more than 400 KNX-based products, video door entry systems and specially-adapted software solutions for the hotel, residential and commercial markets.

KNXtoday: Why did Zennio decide to open a UK office?

VT: Pre-pandemic, the UK market was developing healthily with significant growth for Zennio’s residential and hotel solutions. We experienced particularly rapid growth for our hotel solutions both here in the UK and worldwide.

We formed Zennio UK Limited with the idea of improving cooperation with integrators, specifiers and wholesalers, thus enabling better market penetration. Our current distribution policy stands firm and we will continue to work closely with and distribute through specialist KNX wholesalers.

The popular Z41 touchpanel is Zennio’s most iconic product.

KNXtoday: What’s your favourite KNX project at the moment?

VT: My current favourite UK-based KNX project would, without a doubt, be Paddington Gardens in London. It is a 265-unit multi-dwelling project predominantly using Zennio KNX components for lighting and HVAC control, using our Z41 touchpanel for overall operation and remote access. The project was designed and implemented by ARK M&E and distributed via BEMCO.

Paddington Gardens in London is a 265-unit multi-dwelling project that uses Zennio KNX components for lighting and HVAC control.

KNXtoday: How are you coping with the pandemic?

VT: Zennio was an early adopter of home working well before the Spanish Government announced the official lockdown, so when it eventually happened, we were well prepared. Our production and logistic services were closed for about a week before reconvening at a slightly reduced capacity. Currently, we are back to 100% production capacity but the lockdown and reduced access to our development laboratories and test kit at Zennio HQ has led to very minor delays in the planned introduction of some new products.

In the UK, we were early off the blocks, offering an extensive catalogue of webinars and online technical training in cooperation with our resellers. Funnily enough, it has, in many ways, been easier to engage with integrators and specifiers alike, compared to pre-pandemic.

KNXtoday: What opportunities do you see?

VT: Every crisis brings new opportunities, and this one will be no different. If you can adapt and offer products and solutions suited to a post-pandemic era, then you will thrive. Personally, I remain convinced that technology areas such a touch-free control, operation from users’ personal devices and instant information on people’s whereabouts in a building, based on heat mapping, will grow significantly.

KNXtoday: In light of current challenges, what is your advice to the KNX industry?

VT: It is clear to me that commercial office space and the hospitality industry will take a significant hit, from which it will take some time to recover, but as I already mentioned, every crisis brings opportunities. New ways of working and using buildings will create a demand for new technological solutions, so if you, as a manufacturer, reseller or integrator, have the ability to develop and offer such solutions, then you are onto a winner.

KNXtoday: Any final thoughts?

VT: Despite the havoc created by the ongoing pandemic, I am optimistic on behalf of Zennio. With an agile production system, over 60 engineers engaged in hardware and software development and a proven ability to quickly develop products and solutions adapted to specific market requirements, we are uniquely placed to continue our rapid growth.

Vidar Thomassen is a Director of Zennio UK Limited. Zennio provides technology solutions for hotels, residential and commercial buildings.

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