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A New Era of Elevator and Escalator

Our cities are undergoing enormous expansions. Estimates tell us that around 200,000 people migrate from countryside to cities across the globe every day, equivalent to 140 people every minute. By 2050, more than two in every three people will be living in urban areas. In this increasingly urbanized world, life expectancy also improves. New technological advancements in connectivity, mobility, and computing power are megatrend that change many aspects of our live faster than ever.

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Text: Ir. Henry Cheung, Managing Director of KONE Elevator (HK) Ltd.

Digital disruption is impacting the global elevator and escalator industry. Among the key advancements from the development of internet and the accelerated progress in mobile network, we now have the platform and infrastructure to allow us to connect everything: hence the full-scale application of the internet of things (IoT). At KONE, we have been improving the flow of people and the flow of urban life for more than 100 years. Our history has taught us the importance of renewing ourselves through innovative and transforming our business according to the changing environment: We will not be complacent at just providing an equipment in the buildings, we strive to provide a service, an experience to the citizens from getting to work, going back home and support all their daily activities within the city.

In 2017, KONE revolutionized the industry with its intelligent 24/7 Connected Service. As part of KONE Care™, 24/7 Connected Service uses the IBM Watsons IoT platform and other advanced technology to bring totally new type of intelligent services. With KONE 24/7, we can predict the condition of the escalators & elevators, maintain and take action before equipment breakage.

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How does it work? We install sensors in the equipment and collect data around the clock on key operating parameters, usage statistics and faults. All these information is sent in real time to KONE’s cloud service at which the machine learning algorithm, IBM Watson IoT can make intelligent decisions to identify the needs for maintenance: it either alerts our technician immediately, or contacts technical support or customer service, according to how critical the problem is. Our service technician receives information on service needs and conduct the service either right away or during next scheduled maintenance visit depending on the urgency.

For you, the end user, this means improved safety, full transparency and ease of mind. Because if something was to happen, the service team is already aware of the situation and takes appropriate action without the need to call them. For you as a facility management, by using together with our KONE Mobile app and KONE online portal, you and your team will stay up-to-date on both health of the equipment and maintenance work schedule and progress at all times. You can also access the status report at any time anywhere which can help your planning in advance.

Not so long ago, our customers were all concerned about optimizing energy consumption and elevator capacity to support the people flow in the building. Now, they are pondering how varies building systems need to be linked together, and how they can provide the best user experience to help them differentiate from the neighboring towers.

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Talking about the era of big data & IoT, “connectivity” is a key word to our new solutions. Now everything is connected and work as a comprehensive system. Buildings are smart buildings and elevators are smart elevators as well. KONE Residential Flow brings new levels of convenience for home owners and tenants by connecting building access (including doors, gates and other security facilities), elevators, information channels and intercom systems via an easy-to-use smartphone application, called KONE Flow™.

There are three packages available: KONE Access, KONE Visit and KONE Information. KONE Access controls building doors and automatically call an elevator to take the users to their home floor, eliminating the need to carry or use physical keys. KONE Visit includes smartphone-connected intercom system that allow residents to greet visitors and grant them access using their smart phone. The elevator then takes the visitors automatically to their destination floor. Importantly, residents can also grant access remotely, which is useful for situations like parcel deliveries. With the KONE Information package, facility managers can send relevant building-related information directly to residents’ smartphones, or to the info screens in the elevators or lobby.

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Our customers no longer want to buy product features, they want to buy outcome! How can we create a superb residential flow experience? What kind of offices should we build to attract millennial employees and the best paying tenants? This is what our customers are asking and we are walking in the users’ shoes to help them find solutions. A win-win-win solution!

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