30 years of KNX technology: looking back with Gira

30 years of KNX technology: looking back with Gira

Did you know that the KNX system was founded by Gira, in partnership with other electronics manufacturers? This year, the global Smart Home standard turns 30 – and still draws new manufacturers. Join us as we revisit the history of the KNX system and find out why it is such an integral part of our company.

  • KNX is the world’s most comprehensive Smart Home system.
  • Gira was one of the founders behind the KNX concept.
  • The Instabus EIB was the company’s first KNX-based Smart Home product.
  • Today, Gira offers a wide range of KNX system solutions.

The KNX system: A single standard to connect your entire home. 

When you think about Smart Homes, does your mind immediately conjure up images of cutting-edge technologies and futuristic solutions? If so, then you might be surprised to learn that the Smart Home has actually been around for 30 years – in the form of the KNX system.

KNX is a technical standard that enables you to connect any number of different devices to create a tailored Smart Home solution. What makes the KNX system so unique is the fact that it is a globally recognised standard, which means that it offers the widest variety of Smart Home functions. There are now more than 400 manufacturers across the world producing KNX system products.

Of all of the systems on the market, KNX gives you the most options – so you can rest assured that you are investing in a system that will be fit for the future.

Gira Tastsensor 90er Jahre
The first KNX push-button sensor from Gira controls all home lighting, blinds and ventilation technology.

What does KNX mean?

The abbreviation “KNX” is short for “Konnex”, which is derived from the Latin word “connexio” (connection). This word encapsulates the primary function of the KNX system: It connects individual devices in your Smart Home to improve your quality of life, enhance security and even boost the energy efficiency of your property.

Revolution as the new standard: KNX lays the foundations for the Smart Home.

But what exactly does Gira have to do with KNX? The answer is a simple one: Gira was one of the founders of the technology. Thirty years ago, there was no standard that allowed different devices to be connected together via a single platform.

In 1990, a group of manufacturers decided that it was time to start laying the foundations for a more standardised approach. Their goal was to create a single, consistent standard for the future of building control. The pioneering group included manufacturers such as Gira, Berker, Jung, Merten and Siemens.

Guided by the belief that we are “stronger together”, these manufacturers aimed to build and establish a comprehensive solution that would work with any products from any number of different manufacturers. At this point in time, electrical installations, household appliances, entertainment technology and air conditioning equipment were all designed to different – and completely incompatible – technical standards.

Gira Instabus EIB Prospekt Abbildung
A Gira brochure from 1995 says: "This house stands 100 years. In the future, integrate devices that do not exist today."

In 1996, the relevant European organisations for the various standards began defining guidelines for the new Konnex bus (KNX) technology. The BatiBUS Club International (BCI), the European Installation Bus Association (EIBA) and the European Home System Association (EHSA) were among the organisations involved in this process.

Three years later, it was official: A group of leading companies in the European building technology sector founded the KNX Association. The founding members included:

  • Gira
  • Jung
  • Bosch Telecom
  • Delta Dore
  • Électricité de France
  • Electrolux
  • Hager Group
  • Merten
  • Siemens AG (AD ET division)
  • Siemens Building Technologies, Landis&Staefa division

In 2003, KNX was accepted as the European standard; in 2006, it also became the global standard for building control.

Gira Tastsensor 90er Jahre
Even back in the nineties, the push-button sensor was available in stainless steel as an option.

Gira involved in the Smart Home project from the outset.

While the nineties saw KNX gradually rise to establish itself as the new standard, Gira was already leading the way towards the era of the Smart Home, launching the Instabus EIB and corresponding switch technology as the company’s first KNX Smart Home components. In one of the first brochures on the new system, Gira describes KNX as “a new installation technology that will shape the face of modern electrical installations for decades to come” – and the company’s prophecy proved to be correct.

To help the industry learn about the new system and its programming requirements, Gira developed a sample case complete with a test station so that installers could familiarise themselves with KNX and acquire the relevant programming expertise.

Gira Instabus EIB Musterkoffer
The sample case contains all the basic KNX system equipment, including a power supply, switch, choke, circuit board and test lights to indicate on and off.

Today: Gira is a KNX expert with 30 years of experience.

With 30 years of KNX system experience under its belt, Gira is now an expert in the technology. A great deal has happened since the launch of the Instabus EIB: At the turn of the millennium, the Gira HomeServer made its debut, combining software and hardware in a single system for the first time. The Gira X1 – a more compact solution for family homes and apartments – came onto the market in 2017.

These devices allow you to connect your home, transforming it into a futureproof Smart Home where you can control your lighting, blinds and heating with maximum convenience – or you can even let your home control all your technology for you. You can link your Gira HomeServer or Gira X1 to Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa so that you can control your system using your voice.

In fact, with KNX, there’s virtually nothing you can’t do.

More solutions.