When elevators talk

The World Mobile Congress, internationally considered as the most important meeting for the industry, is being celebrated right now in Barcelona. I am not aware of any exhibitor specialized in electromechanical equipment for buildings, which doesn’t mean there are no innovations related to mobile platforms in our industry.

In fact, in a very few years, for example, the elevator industry has also started to participate in this mobile revolution. Engineers perform their preventive maintenance operations with smartphones in their pockets, salesreps manage offers from their CRM mobile version, we know which operator can attend a breakdown faster thanks to GPS…

The latest developments come from artificial intelligence. By means of some sensors connected to Internet and located in the elevator or escalator, our smartphone establishes a permanent communication with it.

KONE, loyal to its business strategy of innovation leadership, very recently launched a website showing how four of its elevators talk constantly with a machine in the cloud. The elevator informs that it has arrived at the third floor with a good floor levelling, that the outside door has reopened three times, that there is a slight vibration when going down… The machine in the cloud, as it were a person, thanks the elevator for its information, encourages it or confirms in a protective tone that everything is OK. Not only can we read the conversation between the elevator and the machine, but we can also listen to it.

Beyond the fact that this website is definitely striking, the increasingly popular remote maintenance systems make it more easy for maintenance companies to detect future breakdowns. That way, for example, if the outside door is closing more slowly than usual, the company can send a technician with the necessary pieces or point out a door review for the next periodic visit.

ThyssenKrupp, for its part, has announced that will soon begin to work with HoloLens, augmented reality glasses, apparently easy to wear, that project high definition images with relevant information for maintenance technicians about the history of each elevator, details about certain pieces, help with problems…

None of these two companies have developed these projects just by themselves, but in collaboration with technology companies like IBM and Microsoft, respectively.

Experts agree that the access to these technologies is not as expensive as might be thought. Then, should all companies rush into implementing these innovations? Not necessarily, but we should keep an open and proactive attitude in the organization towards these changes, with a view to implementing them as soon as possible.

By the way, next Friday in Seville, companies within the EBM Management Program will be talking about elevator and escalator maintenance (preventive, corrective, predictive, remote…).

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