Katrin Förster: Industry 4.0 stands for digital connectivity. It stands for a new network of given and future opportunities to create a safer, more comfortable and sustainable living space for consumers.
Smart devices are now being used by almost everybody. We think it will be the same with the implementation and connection of automated and intuitive technology in the building industry. Interactivity with smart devices, as a form of control-centre within your home, workplace and any living space, is a natural evolution.
At ABB / Busch-Jaeger, we started developing solutions for building automation more than 30 years ago, and we continue to be at the forefront of this innovation process. We began by focusing on the big picture, using the worldwide standard KNX as technology. This has meant many projects automating a variety of largescale locations, from huge building complexes and cultural spaces, to office buildings and exclusive villas.
The diverse nature of our customer base meant demand for additional, basic and simple solutions that perfectly matched the need for the control of smaller homes, family houses and apartments. We therefore introduced our ABBfree@ home technology to the market four years ago, where it remains popular.
Designed to transform homes into intelligent spaces, the use of ABB-free@home means homeowners can control a wide variety of appliances and systems. Users can now control lights, heating, air-conditioning, blinds, music, door communication, scenesettings and security settings, from just one device or via a simple set of voice commands.
The technology opens up a whole range of new possibilities around the management of the home. For example, imagine having all of your electrical devices turn themselves off by a short voice command when you leave the house in the morning. You could also order the programme to turn down your heating by two degrees when you're out of the house, and on again half an hour before you arrive home in the evening. ABB-free@ home can be programmed the way you want it, to create the kind of smart home that fits your needs.
That's easy: 'future-proofing' means that a system can easily be updated. While the way in which we activate commands will inevitably change, the functions which we are controlling will remain consistent, with lighting, heating, security and sound always playing an important role in our daily lives.
When we first launched ABB-free@home, it was controlled via switches and glass panels on the wall. We have since added the smart devices as controllers, like phones, tablets and smartwatches. Then we added our own voice control system, and recently integrated Amazon's cloud-based voice service Alexa to further develop the offer. Our ongoing development process ensures that we are constantly meeting and anticipating the customer's demands.
The straightforward exchange of data among devices by different manufacturers is crucial, and ABB's goal is to promote and enable interoperability between all providers in this market.
To that end, ABB, Cisco and Bosch founded a start-up called mozaiq that provides an internet of things marketplace to connect devices and services. As mozaiq can help advance the interoperability of home automation functions, ABB is able to deliver a fully connected home in one ecosystem. ABB is also partnering with other market leaders, such as Amazon and Sonos, to create an even more efficient, attractive and comfortable home environment for the customer.