Essential Guide

Connecting KNX and AV

Control of the ‘critical systems’ in a building such as lighting, climate, shading, environmental and energy management have quite different requirements to control of audio and video.

By partnering KNX for control of a buildings ‘critical systems’ with an AV system you can deliver a more cost effective, profitable, feature rich and reliable solution. 

There are three methods of combining building systems:

  • Independent Systems – where the control of “critical systems” and AV systems are isolated and separate.
  • Co-dependent systems – where the control of “critical systems” and AV systems independently perform their intended function but can send and receive commands to control the other system, without taking it over.
  • Integrated Systems – where one system controls both the “critical systems” and AV in a building.

At Ivory Egg we believe in using products how they were initially intended, rather then how they have evolved, as this generally has led to compromises, and often to poor performance, and so the co-dependency model is the safest, most reliable and cost effective solution.  

As part of a co-dependent system KNX was developed to integrate with AV or visualisation solutions rather than to be an AV solution, so the 'hooks' and methods to make this happen are simple and well understood. For this reason products and drivers exist for connection to most systems, such as: Crestron, Control4, Elan, Axium, B&O, RTI, Sonos, and Vantage, amongst others.

KNX-AV Logos

Brands linking to KNX

AV control and distribution has comparatively high bandwidth requirements, and in general AV control systems utilise a central controller connected to the buildings’ data network to allow: control of IP devices; streaming of AV content across the network; and control and visualisation from IP connected devices such as tablets and smart phones.

Typically IR and serial control is also offered from the central controller.
The advantage with having an IP based system is speed, which is required primarily to support media and meta data streaming. 
The other reason for using a IP based central controller is the lack of a world wide standard for AV control.
Having a centralised controller which is reliant on the data network works well for AV control and streaming, but it is really not suitable for control of ‘critical systems’ because it has several “singular points of failure” any of which can cause complete failure for buildings’ occupants.
It is frightening how many ways a central controller can be ‘brought down’. If a central controller is used for the AV and ‘critical systems’ any of the following events could cause failure of the entire system and leave a building in the dark.

  • Loss of power to the central controller
  • Failure of the central controller hardware
  • Corruption of the central controllers firmware or configuration
  • Problems during updates to the central controller
  • Loss of the power to the network router or switch
  • Failure of the network router or switch
  • Incorrect or changed configuration of the router 
  • Failure of a single data cable

KNX, without any singular points of failure, and not reliant on a data network or updates, is more robust and suitable for ‘critical systems’. After all its what it was designed for and what it has been proven to be very very good at.

Today KNX and AV systems are frequently ‘connected’ using IP, and, using 3 distinct methods: 

  • AV solutions that have a direct connection to the KNX bus where the AV system has been designed with a close integration with KNX in mind (eg. Basalte Asano).
  • Physical gateway that provides a pre-coded linkage between the AV system and KNX (eg. Crestron, Elan, Vantage).
  • KNX IP driver in the AV system (eg. Control4, Russound, B&O) that links to KNX through a non-proprietary IP Interface available from many manufacturers (eg. Gira, Zennio, ABB).

Ivory Egg have years of experience and knowledge in helping installers make these connections simple and successful.

If you’d like your projects to comply with the international standard for building control, meet best practise, and be as reliable as possible call us on 0800333553 or email us at to discuss integrating KNX with your preferred AV control system.

For more information, keep an eye out for up coming articles featuring KNX and your favorite AV solution.

For further reading see this article in KNX Today

Why use KNX?

Control and monitoring of critical systems needs to be reliable and immune to systematic failure, precisely because they are critical to the operation of the building and the safety and comfort of it occupants.
To achieve this KNX uses an extremely reliable bus system with distributed control.
This is achievable because KNX is the world wide standard for building control and allows over 8000 products from more than 400 manufacturers to speak to each other using the ISE/ISO 14543.3 open protocol “language”. 
Not only does this give you huge scope in terms of the functionality and pricing you can offer, it also allows the “intelligence” of the system to reside in each individual component rather than a central controller. This means that if a product fails, only the functions specific to that one product stop working, the rest of the building will continue to function properly.

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