A few years from now, as you enter your office building, the lift may take your to your floor without you pressing a button. En route, media screens will show you relevant and tailored content. Even the lighting might adjust to reflect your mood. (All subject to permissioned data sharing, of course.)
Welcome to the future once the internet of things takes hold - and not so very far off, either. KONE, the global leader in lift and elevator technology, has brought this vision to within a two or three-year horizon as a result of its plans to connect a million of its pieces of equipment to the cloud by 2018. Live pilots are already up and running and see the company launching 24/7 Connected Services, a new intelligent service for its clients, as well as KONE Care, a tailored customer service package that for the first time allows clients to specify the exact service level they require.
“Both are using technology as the backbone, but for us, the main thing is that technology is an enabler. The main thing is to understand how to provide added value to our customers,” Hugues Delval, executive vice president, service business at KONE told DataIQ this week. “We are using technology to mass customise maintenance services. At the moment around the industry, packages are set and customers are not able to define the delivery of what they need. One-size-fits-all doesn’t fit globally.”
As a first step, KONE equipped all of its field engineers with smart tools which allow them to receive diagnostic information and service level agreements. New generation controllers built into lifts and escalators, as well as retro-fitted sensors - as many as 200 per lift - will soon be yielding second-by-second updates on how each piece of machinery is performing.
“When we see the door opening below a specified level, for example, we can identify that there is an issue and send a technician. The beauty of that is that the engineer is already equipped with the information needed and the root cause of the failure, so they know what is required to get it back into service,” explained Delval.
Not only does the scheduling of field technicians become more efficient, it means clients have smoother running buildings and the tenants enjoy a better experience without the frustration of queues for lifts or trip hazards and the like. For KONE, it also the start of a migration towards being service-led, rather than purely manufacturing. “KONE has always been a pioneer, but also very focused on equipment and new solutions. IoT is opening up opportunities to improve customer service,” said Delval.
As the back-end data infrastructure and intelligence, the company is using IBM Watson. He explained: “We are using their solution to connect everything, whatever the brand of equipment, and collect that data in the cloud, then use the analytical capabilities of Watson. Our main purpose is to convert the data we collect into value for our customers and insight for our people.” A flavour of the data being generated and how it gets transformed into insight can be gained here. (Note: site uses audio.)
KONE has built an in-house team of data scientists to drive out that value and ensure account managers, customer services and technicians are all receiving the information they need. Data is also shared with clients to support their own decision making and long-term could lead to different approaches to building design and the equipment needed to keep people flowing around the internal space.
Testing of the new IoT-driven care and service has been taking place in several European markets. Its success has encouraged KONE to rollout across 2017 and into next year. “The use case for us is the ability to help people deliver smart buildings in the future and keep people flowing easily and smoothly,” concluded Delval.