German Engineering - Smart Home Project in Saudi Arabia

smartfabrik in Riyadh: A Masterpiece of Smart Home Engineering - An Exclusive Commission from Riyadh

An Exclusive Commission from Riyadh The smart factory recently completed an exciting and challenging project in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The story of this project dates back to the second year of our company’s founding when we received an inquiry from the capital city, Riyadh. The client, a wealthy businessman in the construction industry, was looking for a German engineering firm to bring his vision of a grand villa in the Al Malqua district to life. After numerous virtual meetings and a face-to-face meeting in Düsseldorf with the client’s son in the summer of 2020, we began the planning process. The architectural plans were already in place, and we commenced with extensive electrical installation. In collaboration with a German lighting design firm, we developed a sophisticated DALI lighting concept for the villa. In total, over 1200 DALI control devices were used to allow for individual lighting control. More Than Just Lighting However, our work extended beyond just lighting. We also integrated an intelligent blind control system to protect the house from sandstorms, as well as shading control that adapts to the sun’s movement. Furthermore, we ensured the seamless integration of the air conditioning systems to keep the interior of the villa consistently comfortable. Ultimately, all the smart home functions were designed to be controlled through control panels in each room. We were fortunate to have an English-speaking engineer on-site to handle coordination. However, we soon realized that language barriers and cultural differences posed the first significant challenges. We were aware that this project would not only be exciting but also challenging.
Milestones on the Road to Success In September 2021, we finally shipped the completed control cabinet to Riyadh – a significant milestone for the project. This cabinet was entirely designed and constructed in Germany. We had already considered many contingencies and built in reserves. However, it didn’t stop at one cabinet; a separate cabinet for the outdoor area and the integration of another villa on the premises also had to be taken into account. Meanwhile, local craftsmen were laying kilometers of cable in the house according to our specifications. October saw the shipment of the cabinets to Riyadh, but it took another three weeks for Saudi Arabian customs to grant clearance. This was another major challenge as export declarations were required for each component. For our still young company, this was a valuable learning experience that paid off with customs clearance. The First Steps in Riyadh Our first visit to Riyadh began on November 20, 2021, and the journey was not made any easier by the presence of COVID-19 and entry restrictions. On-site, we were introduced to a previously unfamiliar world and culture. We had to acclimate to the heat and dry air and initially felt like we had arrived two months too early. The electrical installation work was not yet completed, and we had to improvise. However, we were determined to overcome the challenges. We assisted with cable installation and successfully programmed the first set of lights. The days were long and demanding, but in the end, we had achieved the basic functionality of the smart home. It was interesting to note that work in Saudi Arabia was different from Germany. The quality of connections and connection techniques varied depending on the individual performing the work.
A Journey into the Unknown We immersed ourselves deeply in the culture and customs of Riyadh and Saudi Arabia, but due to the intense work, we had little time to explore the city. However, in the evenings, we relished the opportunity to try traditional cuisine and visit Riyadh’s landmark, the Kingdom Tower. Upon our return to Germany, we adjusted our plans and discussed changes and additions with our local engineering partner. Installation on the next floors continued, with kilometers of cables being laid daily. A Journey with More Challenges and Triumphs In July 2022, we returned to Riyadh once again. This time, we faced a significant task: due to adjustments by the client, we had to rewire parts of the control cabinet to accommodate the new requirements. This meant extensive on-site work that we would normally avoid. Another challenge was the extreme heat. Unlike our previous visit, which occurred during the winter, the thermometer now reached 45°C (113°F), and it didn’t drop below 30°C (86°F) even at night. We spent our lunch breaks in air-conditioned rooms to shield ourselves from the scorching heat. The dry air also proved to be a challenge. But we remained undeterred. Our work on this project, which turned us into true experts for working in extreme conditions, was not yet complete. And who can claim to have commissioned a Smart Home in Riyadh during the height of summer?
Triumphs and a Glimpse into the Future After overcoming the challenges, our work was nearly completed over the next few days. Then, an unexpected request came from the homeowner: he wanted a redesign of the button layout, rendering much of our previous work unnecessary. Another visit to Riyadh was necessary. We finalized lighting scenes and visualization, and eventually, the project was ready for handover. The smart home was fully set up, and the homeowner moved in with his family. Further minor adjustments were made, which we would tackle during our next visit. A Journey Full of Experiences and Insights On December 5, 2022, we returned to Riyadh once again. This time, we carried out repairs, reprogrammed the lights, and were able to complete our work within three days. This was our last stay in Riyadh for the time being. Conclusion: An Exciting Adventure and a Great Success This project was an exciting adventure for Smartfabrik. As a young company, we gained the trust of a wealthy client and successfully completed an extremely complex project in a culturally diverse country. We gained valuable experience and met many interesting people. But the story doesn’t end here. We plan to travel to Riyadh for a week-long sales trip in the winter to establish new business contacts and deepen existing ones. We look forward to new challenges and adventures in this fascinating city. Smartfabrik will always remember this project as a journey full of challenges and triumphs. It has shown us that we are capable of successfully completing even the most complex smart home projects and embarking on a world journey that we will never forget.