ProKNX, a French company using the KNX protocol, has chosen Snips as the embedded voice platform for their smart building solutions. ProKNX customers will be able to control their home gateway with voice. We caught up with their CEO, Christian Kiefel at IFA in Berlin to ask him about home automation, the role of voice in accelerating adoption and what made Snips attractive to ProKNX.
[Snips] Tell us a little about ProKNX
[Christian] ProKNX is a startup company in the south of France, in a tech research park called Sophia Antipolis. We specialize in KNX control. KNX is the most important open standard in house and building automation, with 450 manufacturers and over 7,000 compatible products worldwide. We offer solutions from simple app control to voice control and control by augmented reality (AR).
[Snips] What makes voice attractive to your clients?
[Christian] Voice control is certainly a very intuitive way to control and query your environment. It is just as easy as communicating with a roommate or family member. Voice can be used for convenience, but it is especially important for elderly or disabled people to perform recurring daily functions.
[Snips] What about Snips technology stands out to you?
[Christian] Snips gives us the opportunity to use voice control without having dependencies on cloud services. Additionally, privacy has become a big concern for many of our customers and Snips ensures privacy. Snips also runs on simple and affordable hardware. In the end, all of this gives us greater control and in the end our customers will enjoy a more stable and reliable product.
[Snips] What makes working with Snips exciting for ProKNX?
[Christian] Snips is a company that is set up for success. Working with Snips helps us reach our goals faster, so we’re privileged to work with such an innovative and creative company.
Voice control with Snips has several big advantages:
- It guarantees total privacy
- In comparison to cloud-based systems, it is very easy to install as there are no accounts or passwords necessary.
- It can be adapted to wordings, different wake words, or special understandings. Cloud-based services cannot be adapted.
- It guarantees a stand-alone system that, once installed, does not need any updates or modifications.
[Snips] What are your customers expecting from a voice assistant?
[Christian] Our customers are expecting a system that understands their commands without having to repeat themselves or say things unnaturally.
[Snips] How will adding voice help your clients?
[Christian] Voice control is an important improvement in comfort and security. It allows communication within a smart home environment across a wide array of functions:
- Lighting and scene control
- Shutter, awnings, and door control
- Heating and cooling control
- Query of states, temperatures, humidity, CO2, or other values
- Controlling of media systems, TVs, and radio
- Calling for help in case of problems
Voice control empowers people with disabilities to live independently without the continuous presence of support or aid.
[Snips] What are the key challenges your clients are facing when they think about embedding voice in their devices?
[Christian] From the customer point-of-view, the controlled smart home devices need to be compatible. KNX enables compatibility with different transmission mediums like wire, radio, IP, or power lines. All available KNX products are 100% compatible.
[Snips] What are the most common voice use cases for ProKNX customers?
[Christian] Looking at our current statistics from Google Home and Alexa, the most common use case is “Turn on/off the lights”. We believe this will evolve as our users become more comfortable with all the new possibilities in home automation.
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