ThinKnx Cloud: a new way to deliver project updates

Deploying ThinKnx projects on all the clients was a long procedure, even more when there are a lot of users configured. With the new version of the ThinKnx Configurator it is now possible to choose to upload the project on the ThinKnxCloud and automatically it generates all the different versions of the project (one for each user) and uploads them on the cloud server. In this way, to download the project on the client application the user just needs to insert the serial number of the server and its password.


Enabling the ThinKnx Cloud service is really easy


To enable the use of ThinKnxCloud the user has to open the server web page, select Server menu item and then select ThinKnxCloud. In the cloud page, click Enable ThinKnxCloud button. A popup will appear to set the maintainer password for the cloud. After the user fills these field and clicks on the Enable button, the server enables the Cloud features which means project upload and data storage.
After the enabling procedure is completed, the status of the cloud must change to Enabled and the user can see how much storage space is using on the cloud.


Uploading the project on ThinKnx Cloud

To upload the project on cloud, the system integrator simply needs to open the project in the ThinKnx Configurator, select the System object in the System tree view and edit some of its properties, more specifically:

  • Serial number property is mandatory to use all the cloud features and must contain the serial number of the ThinKnx server

  • ThinknxCloud property must be enabled

  • Password for ThinknxCloud property must contain the maintainer password previously set in the server web page

If the project requires the use of groups and users, each user configured must have a password associated to it. All the users passwords for the cloud must be different, to create the password, select the Authorizations property of the System object, select a user and fill the ThinKnxCloud password property with the password assigned to the user.
To upload the project on the cloud, save the project, click on the Export button in the toolbar menu and select Upload to the Cloud menu item. A popup indicating the progress of the upload will appear.


Downloading the project from ThinKnx Cloud

Currently, the projects download procedure from the cloud is available only for iOS devices. To download the project on iPhone or iPad, open the ThinKnx or ThinKnx Pocket app and select the Settings page. In the tab menu on the left, select the Cloud tab and fill the two fields below with the server serial number and the cloud password. If the projects contains users, to download a specific version of the project insert the password associated to the user otherwise use the maintainer password (the one created in the server web page). When the user taps the Download button, the download starts and the procedure is analogue to the one from Configurator.
Different icons indicates whether the project has been downloaded from the Configurator or from the ThinKnxCloud. To simplify the download procedure from Cloud, the serial number will be displayed for each project under the project name.


Broadcasting push notification to iOS clients

To communicate project updates or other important information to final users, ThinKnx server has implemented a new feature on its web pages. In the Licenses and Codes page a new form has been added at the end of the page. The system integrator has to fill the Text that will be displayed in the push notification and by clicking on the Send push notification button the notification will be instantly sent to all the iOS clients.

New Sonos integration to enhance user experience

ThinKnx Compact server added new features to its Sonos integration! First of all it is now possible control and receive feedbacks from Sonos players directly through network without creating more traffic on KNX. In this way, all the commands and feedbacks can be available on KNX thanks to ThinKnx server only if the installer really need them!
ThinKnx clients can play, pause, shuffle or repeat tracks, launch playlists or favorites and control volume and they can receive also feedbacks regarding the track being played (track title, album title and artist name). Everything optionally on KNX!


Configuring Sonos for KNX

To control Sonos from KNX the system integrator must add the Sonos Manager object to the system tree view in ThinKnx Configurator. The Players property represents the list of players configured by the system integrator. To add a player, open the Sonos Players editor by selecting this property. By clicking on the Add button the ThinKnx Configurator starts searching for Players connected to its network and displays a list of them in a new window. If the player to add is connected to the network, the system integrator just selects it and clicks on the Add Player button and the Configurator will add it to the list with some properties already filled (like IP address, etc.), otherwise the user clicks on the Create Player button and the player object added to the list will be completely empty. This last option is useful when the configuration occurs in a different network in respect of the deployment one and the Sonos Players are not reachable.
With the Player object it is possible to configure:

  • Playback control: the user can set one KNX group for the Play/Stop command and one KNX group for the Play/Stop status of the player. This association can be done also for Mute, Shuffle and Repeat features (both command and state). ThinKnx server will make available on KNX three 14 bytes strings representing the track title, track album and track artist. It also possible to control the source of the Sonos, Queue or Line-in, and get a feedback with other two 1 bit groups.

  • Volume control: The volume value can be sent on KNX bus through a KNX group (1 byte) (Volume status group). Different modalities to change the volume are available:

    • Sending directly the value of the volume through a 1 byte KNX group - Volume value group

    • Stepping up and down through a 1 bit KNX group - Volume step group

    • Dimming the volume value through a 4 bit KNX group - Volume move group

  • Playlists and favorites control: Playlists and favorites can be selected directly from KNX. To do so, the user must set a 1 byte KNX group to command playlists (Playlist select group) and another one to command favorites (Favorite select group). The value sent to select the playlist or favorite is just a number, for this reason, to recall a playlist its name must start with the number used to recall the playlist from KNX (chosen by the user) and it must follow the syntax [user number][space]-[space][playlist name], for example 1 - [Playlist name].
    Regarding playlists, a feedback of the selection can be obtained by configuring a 1 byte group (Playlist status group) to get the number of the selection and a 14 bytes string group to get the current playlist title.

Another important feature consists of creating grouping among players directly from KNX. The groups must be predefined in the Configurator editing the Topologies property in the Sonos Manager object. For each topology the user must select the players that will be part of that group and assign two 1 bit KNX groups, one to recall the topology and one to determine if the topology is active. To select the players the user has to click on the Players Groups property, a popup containing the list of configured players will appear. Using drag & drop the user can move players among groups and by right clicking on a player it is possible to select it as the coordinator of the group, remove a player from a group, separate all players or group all of them together.
The Sonos Manager object provides also additional properties to control all the players from KNX. It is possible to stop or mute all the players configured by sending a bit on KNX. In addition, one of the Sonos players can be configured as a public announcer, in other words a player can be used as a source to spread public announcements to all the other players from KNX with a bit.


Sonos on ThinKnx server

Sonos integration works even without KNX interface, saving traffic on the bus when it is not needed. All the commands and feedbacks listed before are available inside the Thinknx client and in addition it is also possible to display the cover image of the track currently performed.
For example, to skip track on the Sonos Player directly from ThinKnx client application the user can add a Generic Button, open the Command property and select the Skip track command for the desired Player. When the user will tap the Generic Command object in the client interface, the command will be sent through the network not overloading the KNX bus.
Also the feedbacks can be read without using the KNX bus, for example, track title can be displayed in the client application using an Extended Command object. If the user selects System Object as the Data Source of the value to read, in the System status property can choose the Get the current track title command for the desired player. (For additional information read the paragraph below)