Ideas Go Face to Face

Recently, I read an article in Newsweek that I thought gave an unexpected boost to the elevator industry. The article refers to Thomas Friedman’s book The World is Flat, which proposed that technology in the 21st century would allow people to participate in the global economy from the comfort of home or any other remote idyllic place if they so desired. But, that is not happening, even though the technology is certainly up to the task. It seems that people (particularly those in their 20s and 30s) want to be there in the middle of it all, because cities are where the ideas are born. They want to be where they can have a lot of interaction, bouncing ideas off of one another. It seems that the technology that made working remotely possible has actually made face-to-face communication more important than ever. Young people are paying the price in dollars and frustrations to live in San Francisco, Chicago, New York and other vibrant cities. Since there is little inner-city land left here, our cities are forced to grow higher. Bloomberg reports that construction spending in New York City (NYC) grew 26% in 2014 to US$36 billion, with residential construction exceeding expectations, marking the first time it has surpassed US$7 billion. This is definitely good for the elevator industry!

Our focus this month is on Communication Systems but mostly the artificial kind: people to machines, machines to machines and machines to people:

  • Usage of Voice Recognition inside an Elevator explains a new software, talk2lift, which converts voice commands to keystrokes, helping those who are visually impaired. It could also improve traffic flow for visitors to very large complexes.
  • Advantages of Implementing M2M and Cloud Services in Retrofitted Elevators is about using machine-to-machine (M2M) information transference to assist in modernizing the many elevators that are 20 years old or more. It is really about the rise of the “smart elevator.”
  • Messaging Systems for Escalators and Moving Walks focuses on a new system from Sound View Electronics that delivers messages at crucial points in the ride to keep passengers moving safely and in the correct direction.
  • In Testing Elevator Phone Lines, an Overview, Allie Lewis of Kings III opines that elevators do not have to have a dedicated phone line for emergencies. Instead, she suggests a “line seizure” technique.

Our features this month cover Hyundai’s double-decker elevators in South Korea’s LG Uplus building, Mitsubishi’s glass elevators in the Royal Dutch Mauritshuis art museum and accessibility elevators in Space Ninety 8 in Brooklyn, New York. On the cover is High-Tech Installation in LG Uplus, where South Korea’s first double-deck elevator is installed at a 21-story building in Yongsan, Seoul. Modern Elegance for the Golden Age features a classy elevator system made entirely of glass (even the guide rails) by Mitsubishi Elevator Europe at The Mauritshuis, where the best Dutch artwork from the Golden Age is displayed.

This month, we also premiere a “Pop Culture” column with an article called Mad Men Elevators. It describes scenes from that popular TV show as it concludes its eight-year run.

A lot of face-to-face communication went on in New York City and Milan last month. The Sixth-Annual ECNY Supplier Showcase brought a huge group together for one day of nonstop promotion, communication and good food, while the 2015 MADE Expo brought together a smaller crowd of elevator people. Next month, we report on the Asansör Istanbul, which hosts the largest number of industry people outside of Germany’s Interlift and the China World Elevator Expo.

If we were able to sell all of our equipment remotely (on Twitter, Amazon or our own interactive websites), there would be no need for these vast expos. But, indeed, the expos are growing in popularity in the same way that city living is making a comeback. People still want to touch the goods, examine the machines and talk with the marketers. After they have done that, they want to sit down face to face over a cup of coffee or tea and exchange ideas. They are willing to travel long distances to do that, and many more thrive on the hassles of city living for the same reason. Aren’t we glad?  

Elevator World Editor and Publisher

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