Encouraging Innovation, Paul Foulkes, President, KNX UK Association
22 July 2021
Complex control projects can throw up complex issues, leading to disputes that are costly and time consuming and, in turn, break what should ideally be long-term relationships. One way to avoid disputes is to play safe; another is to embrace innovation but with a clear understanding of what best practice should be at the leading edge.
In the buildings control world, there is a growing tendency for intergrators to develop customer software warppers for control systems. It’s a trend that should be welcomed because it will benefit customers and help to stimulate the rest of the industry to keep pushing the boundaries of what is possible. Excellent examples of this approach are used, for instance when providing security for parallel crew and guest accommodation control of superyachts where protecting all-importiant navigation systems from unauthorised users when the vessel is in charter is critical. The potential downside of software wrappers is that they could be used to restrict the client’s freedom to further develop the software foundations of their installation at a later date.
It’s an issue that is not exclusive to the KNX world, but nowhere else does it so starkly contrast with the basic system principles of openness and futureproofing. That’s why the KNX UK Association felt the need to envelope a Code of Conduct for its members that goes beyond the usual “off the shelf” wording.
So, in addition to stipulating the general principles of good conduct, best commercial practice and fair dispute resolution, the new code specifically pre-empts issues that could arise from the growing use of custom – and often proprietary – software wrappers that could restrict the client’s freedom.
This Is not to discourage innovation by integrators, but to ensure code is shared with customers. Not doing so would, of course be inconsistent with the principles that underpin the open standards thinking behind KNX, and is expressly forbidden by the KNX UK members’ Code of Practice.
The KNX UK Code of Conduct give us all the confidence to explore new possibilities with KNX in the UK, improving the efficiency of the built environment and the wellbeing of occupants. I believe it has set the standard definition of good conduct for designers and integrators in our industry and clarifies principles of best practice acceptable to all our professional colleagues, working on projects that are KNX based or not. Above all, it helps to enable innovation!
New to Futurebuild 2022, the Intelligent Buildings area in partnership with KNX. Intelligent Buildings will showcase the technologies that are paving the way in minimising the environmental impact and reducing costs for the end user – as equally important from a retrofitting perspective as in the early stages of the design process.