The intelligent home: An interview about the new Gira eNet SMART HOME system
G-Pulse Editorial Staff: Mr. Klee, you’re a product manager at Gira and you were involved in the development of the home automation system Gira eNet SMART HOME, which is new on the market. What is so unique about this system?
Klee: Gira eNet SMART HOME relies on a sensor-actuator concept. Because of the interaction between actuators, sensors, and the Gira eNet server, various functions in the home can be automated. The system primarily relies on the iOS and Android app, as well as fully encrypted wireless communication. The new Gira eNet SMART HOME app offers a wide range of configuration possibilities, which can be individualized by the end-user. This way, your home can be easily transformed into a Smart Home.
G-Pulse Editorial Staff: Gira eNet SMART HOME was developed as a collaborative project: together with other companies you founded the eNet SMART HOME alliance, which has already gained strong partners like Bachmann, tado°, and Steinel.
How did this collaboration come into being and what is your shared goal?
Klee: There are numerous Smart Home systems out there, ranging from smaller solutions to very complex systems. In this impenetrable jungle of Smart Home systems, customers are looking for guidance. Together with our partners, we want to help our customers find their way. And of course, our aim is to convince them of our solutions. This way, customers don’t need to have multiple applications when, for example, they want to automate both lighting and shading. They can also be sure that by using the products of the eNet alliance, their system will be secure and future-proof. Our collaborative network supports the products, which means that we can leverage product synergies and support our shared interest of sustainable resource use.
G-Pulse Editorial Staff: To what extent is the new Gira eNet SMART HOME system different from the previous Gira eNet system?
Klee: Gira eNet is the foundation of the Gira eNet SMART HOME system and includes 34 of our products from lighting, shading, and energy saving solutions. For the right smart application that adds value for our clients, the Gira eNet Server is needed. The Gira eNet Server makes it possible to not only control your system easily with your smartphone when you’re at home or away, but also enables you to comfortably configure various scenes, set timers and so-called if-then rules. An example of the latter would be: if a particular brightness is reached, then your blinds will automatically go up and your lights will be switched off. This is not only convenient, but saves energy as well.
G-Pulse Editorial Staff: eNet SMART HOME is one of the wireless systems in Gira’s product assortment. Which advantages do these wireless systems have in comparison to wired KNX standards?
Klee: This is much more a question of which application the client prefers for their home. That will then determine which system is the most suitable. The decision is a personal one, one which the client needs to make after seeking professional advice. Basically, eNet SMART HOME is very flexible in its application – irrespective of whether it concerns a new build or if it needs to be retrofitted to an existing building. A current installation can be easily converted to eNet SMART HOME if the existing light switches and blind controls are able to be replaced by Gira eNet switches. The advantage is that the cabling does not need to be changed. For a new build, this is similar.
The electrician can install just like he/she always does and there is no need for any special wiring to make the house smart. With the use of, for example, Gira eNet light switches, the intelligent home becomes a reality.
Klee: Gira eNet SMART HOME offers a wide range of functions for the user, which enhances the overall comfort of everyday life. With the app, lighting, shading, and heating can be seamlessly managed. This does not only increase the comfort in your own home, but also the energy efficiency and security. Another benefit is the easy setup of the system. With the wireless system, you do not need to lay down any cables and, therefore, no walls need to be opened up. When you move, you can easily take the system with you to your new home and install your preferred scenes. The system is as flexible and individualized as the preferences of its users are.
G-Pulse Editorial Staff: Is it possible to use products from various suppliers with the new eNet SMART HOME system?
Klee: Yes, this is possible with products from the eNet SMART HOME alliance. For example, the existing tado° heating systems will become an extension for the Gira eNet SMART HOME system. This means that you no longer need two apps to operate the two systems, as both tado° and eNet SMART HOME can be controlled via the eNet SMART HOME app.
G-Pulse Editorial Staff: Why would you recommend smart solutions to a friend and which Smart Home system would you suggest?
Klee: This depends on the needs of the friend. What does this friend want for his/her personal Smart Home? The current situation also plays a role in this: Is the house still in a planning phase or is there a renovation taking place? And is the property owned or rented? These aspects are important for what I would recommend. My friends have different interests in smart solutions. What is important here is to prioritize the added value for each individual. One of my friends travels a lot for work and leaves the house relatively early in the morning. He always had the problem, that his bathroom was not warm enough, until he left the house! With tado°, he can now preheat the bathroom in the morning to ensure a pleasant temperature is reached when he takes his morning shower. He can also turn on the heating in the evening while still on the road, so that when he gets home the house is already at a suitable temperature.
G-Pulse Editorial Staff: Do you also have a wireless system at home? How smart is your own home?
Klee: You are always your own most critical client. I have Gira eNet SMART HOME and tado° installed in my home. I took part in the pilot following the product development phase and comprehensively assessed the system. I am, therefore, happy with the new upcoming version of the Gira eNetServer, which makes it possible to control both eNet SMART HOME and tado° via one app.
G-Pulse Editorial Staff: Security in the Smart Home is viewed by many with a certain amount of skepticism – and so comes the topic of data protection. How does the Gira eNet SMART HOME guarantee data security?
Klee: Firstly, we offer fully encrypted wireless communication, which means that the system cannot be tapped into. In addition, remote access through your smartphone, whether you are at home or away, is encrypted. And, last but not least: in case the Gira eNet Server does not have an internet connection or the connection gets interrupted, you can still control all functions manually, such as, for example, switch your lights on and off, or controlling the blinds. Basic functionality is always guaranteed with Gira eNet SMART HOME.
G-Pulse Editorial Staff: Which trends do you see in the world of Smart Home?
Klee: Smart Home remains an interesting area: There is a lot of potential and the next few years will surely bring more innovations. I especially believe that voice control will remain a key trend and important area for development. Moreover, I think that the holistic networked connection of various appliances, such as fridges and TVs, will become increasingly more important.
G-Pulse Editorial Staff: Which projects are coming up next for you personally?
Klee: Well, you know how it is: there’s always another project around the corner. Like I mentioned before, we are currently integrating the heating system of our partner tado° with the eNet SMART HOME system. Parallel to that, there are several additional projects that are being implemented – but I cannot reveal more at this point.
G-Pulse Editorial Staff: Thank you so much for the interesting interview!
Have you already integrated smart solutions in your home? We are looking forward to hearing about your experiences.