“PRO” and “CONS” between traditional electrical systems and KNX integrated systems

The fundamental difference between traditional systems and automation systems can be condensed into a single word: INTEGRATION.
In traditional design, the various services are ensured by different and independent systems, which do not communicate and do not interact with each other. This leads to costly duplications, difficulties in coordinating the operation of individual systems, hidden operating costs, but above all less effectiveness in guaranteeing what we require from our systems: safety, comfort and savings. On the contrary, the integration of the systems present inside a building allows to obtain results that traditional systems are unable to offer.

Example: Implement an office scenario that automatically maintains the brightness of an environment by appropriately integrating natural and artificial light, adjusting the first with motorized blinds and the second with dimmer, but turning on the lights only during office hours or if someone is present in the environment out of hours (with presence detection through access control or presence detectors), reactivating if necessary in the latter case also the heating or air conditioning system, it is perhaps also feasible with traditional techniques, but with complications and costs unacceptable. Furthermore, if you later wish to modify the same scenario, for example to restart the air conditioning systems after hours with temperature thresholds different from the usual ones (lower in winter and higher in summer), almost certainly all the work would have to be redone.

Thanks to the integration of the systems there is also a simplification of the design, of the different implementation of the same project.
Now we come to the main concept of this article: what are the pros and cons between traditional electrical systems and KNX integrated systems?


  • The cost of the various devices (switches, sockets, diverters, etc.) is lower
  • It is a known technology, exploitable by any electrician, and which does not require
    explanations to the Customer


  • KKNX is an “open” world standard and this means that any KNX Certified device (source Wikipedia: over 7000 device catalogs in the world) is interchangeable. Result: I am not tied to any Brand / Trademark and I have an extra guarantee to find devices with the same characteristics and quality at any time, even from different brands, as long as they are KNX certified. On the contrary, the use of “closed” protocols binds the Customer to a single type of Brand / Trademark, not giving the possibility of choice.
    Great flexibility: since the operation of each single device is determined by the device configuration and not by the wiring, it is possible to easily change the system configuration both during construction and after installation.
    Multifunctionality: each device can perform several functions at the same time (for example, an alarm detector can act as a motion / presence detector), leading to savings on the number of devices needed.
    New functions can be easily implemented without having to change devices or redo the wiring, even when the system is completed.
    Wiring is simpler. The power cables are limited to connecting the actuators and power sockets; the rest of the connections can be made with SELV cables (Safety Extra Low Voltage – very low voltage used to power devices that do not present risks of electrocution) or with small section. Easy cable routing can result in cabling savings of up to 60%.
    Reducing the wiring concentration reduces the flammable load, resulting in improved safety and simplified fire prevention measures.
    It is suitable for both new buildings and period buildings. In the latter, since the connections of the controls are made with a two-wire cable, it is possible to continue to exploit existing pipes and channels also for new wiring, thanks to the space recovery thus obtained.
    The installation of an integrated system does not necessarily involve the complete elimination of the existing systems, which can instead be integrated into the new system through the appropriate interfaces.
    The separation of the control device (powered by SELV voltage) and the actuation device (powered by mains voltage), allows the former to be positioned even in areas not allowed with traditional systems (for example in certain areas of the bathrooms).
    The costs of changes in progress are contained both in new constructions and in renovations, since, with an integrated system, a redefinition and reprogramming of the system itself does not necessarily involve the remaking of the work already performed.
    Operating costs are reduced as integration allows fewer devices to perform, more functions, for which they were not designed.
    The entire system can be effectively managed remotely.


  • Poor flexibility: the functionalities of the systems are made with physical connections and each modification requires a more or less demanding reconstruction of the wiring.
  • One device, one function. In traditional plant engineering, various devices are duplicated, with an increase in costs (for example, in the same room, a presence sensor for anti-intrusion and one for automatic switching on of the light).
  • The number of cables used is greater, with consequent higher costs both for preparation (pipes and channels), both for material and, finally, for labor.
  • The greater amount of cables needed requires greater protection against flammable load.
  • The control devices are powered by the mains voltage, with the risk of direct contact with the power lines.
  • During the renovation of the systems there may be problems for the positioning and passage of new cables, especially in period buildings.
  • There is a high risk of cost increases due to changes in progress, given that with traditional systems a redefinition of their operation almost always involves the remaking of the work already performed.
  • Higher operating costs: the lack of integration does not allow to exploit the information of the other systems (for example by switching off the air conditioning if the windows are open) and the rigidity in the configuration imposes high costs to adapt the systems to the evolution of the Customer’s needs (for example, adding additional commands to open the gate may require considerable wiring work or new building works).
  • Little possibility of effectively managing remote systems.


  • The devices are more expensive than the traditional devices they replace.
  • It is a technology that not all installers know and are able to manage.
  • The advantages produced by this solution must be explained to the customer.

The now proven professionalism of Rimini System Integrator ensures that the support to all its Customers and Collaborators is constant and comprehensive in the world of system integration. Contact us for more info!



Rimini system integrator
Electron snc
by Menini Mirko e Menini Erika

Via Andrea Costa, 38 – 47923
Rimini (RN) – ITALY
Tel. +39 0541/388551

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