The e-magazine for KNX home & building control

Installation: enhance your KNX offering by integrating door intercom

Simon Buddle discusses why systems integrators should consider adding door intercom as part of their KNX offer.

If you had to boil an industry down to a single word what would that be for KNX?

I would be the first to say that I’m quite robust in terms of not crossing boundaries into other systems, whether that be audio, TV distribution, home cinema, CCTV, or security for example. But here’s the thing; it simply isn’t possible to work solely in the world of KNX, except for possibly the simplest of installations. Even then, I’d say that any forward-thinking company would be, as a minimum, looking to have remote access to the system. Back to the question, for me, I would say that word is ‘integration’.

The meaning of ‘integrate’ is to form, coordinate, or blend into a functioning or unified whole: to unite. If we don’t integrate, I don’t feel like we add any value, or, to put it more succinctly, we don’t have a business. The very heart of KNX is the ability to integrate lighting actuators, heating controls, switches, sensors, and so on, and so on.

The very heart of KNX is the ability to integrate.

Easy integration options

One element that we can integrate well and easily into KNX is the door intercom. The installation of touchscreens as a user interface to provide global controls to the system also offers the opportunity to add a video entry phone system onto the same screen. This is both cost-effective and space saving, as well as being aesthetically pleasing by avoiding unnecessary wall clutter.

Technically-speaking the door intercom is not part of the KNX ecosystem except for its presence on the user interface. However, it is that ability which makes adding the door intercom to a KNX installation a very compelling argument.

The flush-mountable Gira System 106 door intercom is available in a choice of finishes, can be engraved and can be used with all Gira indoor home stations as well as with an app.

We live in a world of cheap IoT tech. Apps can show your CCTV on your phone, and doorbells can ring and be viewed on the phone. We’ve moved on a long way from intercoms connected to phone systems and the integration issues which that caused.

Apps can show your CCTV and door entry on your phone.

Before we look at the solutions we might employ, it’s worth looking at the features that are widely available now using IoT products. The most obvious of these are Ring and Nest – simple, easy-to-install units with camera feeds to a smart device app. The camera feeds take a few seconds to become live, and recording images requires a subscription to a cloud service. Additionally, it’s worth saying that neither have the facility to open a door natively. To do that, you’ll need to add a smart lock to your IoT ecosystem.

Door entryphone systems

In our world there are multiple companies making great door entry phone systems, including ABB, Jung/Siedle, Gira, Basalte, and Zennio, to name a few.

Zennio video intercom modules are examples of door entry systems that can be integrated with KNX.

The external door stations come in multiple configurations, from simple single-button keypads, through multiple-button (think flats or staff/main house call) keypads to  fingerprint or card reader access. Aesthetically-speaking, there are myriad options including modular plastic, stainless steel, bronze, brass and various high-end finishes.

ABB-Welcome IP door communication monitors all entrance areas, with outdoor stations being used flexibly via network connection, whether in one-family houses or high-rise buildings, office buildings, industrial buildings, hotels or hospitals.

For the internal handsets, you can choose from many styles and colours, potentially installing multiple units, one per floor on a larger property. App control, in-home or remotely, provides the simplest and most immediate access to the intercom system, with many manufacturers providing missed call logs and snapshot images of those at the door.

The choice of locks available today is almost infinite. There’s the simple latch release, monitored multipoint locks, magnetic locks, or volt-free triggers for gates, bollards, and lifts. With a door intercom system sitting alongside KNX actuators, it is a simple task to control any of these unlocking mechanisms with a bit of local wiring.

Two more noteworthy points are SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) integration and the deployment of these system into MDUs (Multi Dwelling Units). SIP provides the option to connect to a number of third-party external control panels such as those by 2N, which then brings the system into the world of data networks.

Security Installing and configuring door intercom for MDUs historically was quite a challenge. However, with the advent of secure data, communications from main door or concierge to apartment is now both mainstream and accessible to any installer.

The Siedle Touch 10 is an example of an all-weather centrally-managed door station that can replace the traditional long rows of doorbells and name plates on MDUs.

The secure bridge between block-wide LAN and apartment LAN now makes it possible to keep both sides secure and separated. Each apartment having its own touchscreen that operates lights, heating etc and doubles up as a door intercom –  that’s a great solution for any property developer. Equally from a management perspective, they’re now dealing with one company not two. That too, has value for them.

The Iddero HC3-KNX is an example of a touchscreen that offers IP connectivity and can control lights, hesatin etc as well as door entry functionality.


There are huge benefits to be had by adding door entry to the portfolio of products that we install. Even if you start with the simple premise that you only need a single touchscreen on the wall. That alone is enough to convince most customers of the value of KNX and door controls. But when looking at the aesthetic options and the diversity of technical solutions, it’s easy to make a strong case for them together.

Manufacturers of KNX products also provide great door entry solutions that can be applied to pretty much every application that you could ever think of. For us the key is to specify and install the right solution to meet the brief.

Simon Buddle CEng MIET, is a consultant for Future Ready Homes, a specialist in BMS and ELV services system design.

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