Smart Home International: An Interview on trends and developments in England
G-Pulse: How long have you been working for Gira and what is your role in the company?
Muir: I have been with Gira since 2010 where I started as a ‘UK Account Manager’. I now work internationally as ‘Key Account Manager International’ covering major projects, multi-dwelling units, and hospitality projects, and I provide specification assistance to individuals or companies working on projects throughout the built environment.
G-Pulse: Since when has Gira been active in the UK? How does the company present itself?
Muir: Gira has been present in the UK for around 12 years. Originally represented by our now long standing Distributors, we have grown to having 9 Gira colleagues covering the entire country, and a number of new Distributors which have increased our availability to the electrical install market. Since 2014 we also have a showroom in London on the famous Baker Street. Visitors can experience the innovative Gira building technology and elegant switch programs in a homely environment and discover various design options.
Interview of the Gira Key Account Manager Muir Baxter
G-Pulse: Which products are currently displayed in the showroom? Is there any specific product in high demand?
Muir: The London showroom is designed in a simulated home environment and features a fully functioning smart home system including door communication access control products with all the available design options in elegant design lines. Coming soon, our customers can also discover the new System 106 Door Communication in all its glory. The G1 always proves a special draw for visitors interested in smart home technology due to its stunning appearance and intuitive multi-touch display that enables easy control and operation of all functions via touch gestures.
G-Pulse: You have been working for Gira for a while now. Are there any preferences that interior designers and architects particularly pay attention to regarding the switch programs and solutions in building technology?
Muir: Simplicity in function and elegance in design. Interior designers and architects want technical solutions that impress both functionally and visually. For controls, the user interface must be simple and intuitive. All too often we see other systems being designed by highly technical people who love to have multiple levels of control. For a user, it may be the worst thing that can happen - especially in the hotel industry or where residential property is rented out, as users constantly change and have differing needs. Every time I present Gira products, I always give a "best practice" example and show how the Gira system leads to a positive user experience for the customer.
Muir: My favourite product is the control center Gira HomeServer. It is truly an amazing innovation: it provides the already intelligent KNX-equipped building with super advanced logic and real building automation. Building automation means more than just control. It means that the building literally thinks for itself and makes informed decisions based on predefined settings. For example, if you want a room temperature of 22 degrees, but it is currently only 19, the HomeServer can make calculations about the path and the intensity of the sun to decide whether to open the curtains and utilise the solar gain, instead of turning on the heating system to heat the room. I find this incredibly fascinating.
G-Pulse: Do you have it built in your own home?
Muir: Unfortunately, I don’t have KNX and a HomeServer at home. I do, however, have the superb Gira eNet wireless control system for all my lighting and blinds, together with the TX_44 Door Communications. It is a converted Victorian house in North London, so this was a great way of bringing the latest technology to a very period building without having to open walls and chase cables.
G-Pulse: What do you think of the development of smart home? And what are the latest smart home trends?
Muir: The subject of smart home has changed quite a bit over the past few years with so much confusion now in the market as to what a ‘smart home’ actually is. We now have many ‘Internet of Things’ devices available that all profess to be smart home controls when in reality they are only network connected/convenient to use devices.
G-Pulse: Every year, the 100% Design trade fair takes place in London. What is so unique about the 100% Design trade fair in London? And what did Gira present there this year?
Muir: 100% Design is the UK’s largest trade event for architects and designers, so one I never miss. This year we focussed on the latest technologies and award-winning design lines from Gira. The design community can visit Gira on site and talk with us about our products and future projects and even use the opportunity for an individual consultation. I always enjoy the interesting conversations and exciting exchange with customers and colleagues.
G-Pulse: Are there other projects on the horizon this year?
Muir: Gira has very proudly been specified some of the best developments in London and these projects are winning awards throughout the industry. BREEAM, CEDIA, The Evening Standard Homes & Property, The Sunday Times, and The Guardian have all awarded numerous accolades to projects delivered with Gira. Looking to the future, we have numerous new projects in design and delivery, so watch this space!
G-Pulse: Thank you for the interesting conversation.
Have you ever experienced smart home solutions? We look forward to your experience.
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