KONE 24/7 Connected Services Improve Flow of Urban Life
Partnering with IBM’s Watson Platform allows VT company to anticipate fast-coming changes.
This article was first presented at the 2018 International Elevator & Escalator Symposium in Istanbul. For more information on November 2019’s event in Las Vegas and to participate, visit www.elevatorsymposium.org.
Digitalization is changing the face of where we live and how we work. Rapid advances in the capabilities of sensors, connectivity, analytics and mobile technologies are redefining many industry sectors.
KONE has used remote monitoring systems for its equipment for years. In early 2016, the company widened these efforts by joining forces with IBM to use its Internet of Things (IoT) Watson Platform. The result has led to KONE 24/7 Connected Services. These services have been designed in anticipation of some of the fast-paced changes we see today. They are strongly linked to KONE’s “Winning with Customers” strategy, which means we take an approach that focuses on customers, developing services and solutions that respond to their needs and helping their businesses succeed.
Our 24/7 Connected Services enable equipment to be connected, bringing real-time data and more insights for customers and service technicians. It means data from elevator sensors can be monitored, analyzed and displayed in real time, improving equipment performance, reliability and safety. With respect to elevators today, we can monitor up to 200 critical parameters. All this is to help provide the least possible interruption to people flow.
Another key element of providing smoother people flow is to integrate advanced technology into different building systems. Simply having top-quality escalators, elevators and related solutions in place is not enough. Advanced technology must be integrated with different building systems.
At KONE, we believe connectivity is an enabler for bringing better services to our customers, our employees and especially our people in the field, including supervisors. We want to bring more insight, data and tools that ultimately meet our customers’ changing needs and help them succeed in their business challenges.
In this article, we discuss how people who use elevators and escalators will benefit from 24/7 Connected Services, which enables improved services, less downtime and the provision of clearer information for building owners and building managers, for instance. On top of this, the technology’s use brings the potential to introduce new personalized experiences for consumers based on preferences and needs.
Urbanization and Technological Disruption are Reshaping Our World and Industry
Our cities, homes, workplaces and infrastructure systems are developing according to two megatrends: urbanization and digitalization. City populations all around the world are constantly growing and changing, while rapid technological improvements and innovation in connectivity, mobility and computing power are enabling changes to the way we live, work and interact with our surroundings. Megatrends like these have implications for developers and operators involved in moving people in and around cities and buildings.
Estimations are that, by 2050, more than two-thirds of the world’s population will live in urban areas. Every day, about 200,000 people move into cities across the globe. Understanding urbanization and focusing on improvements for people will enable us to deliver better elevator and escalator services for better buildings, better cities and a better world.
At the same time, fast-paced technological advancements are disrupting markets and services, which also means a faster pace of business and new expectations for living and working. These new technologies, which are more powerful and more efficient than anything that came before, provide us with the opportunity to provide better services in smarter and more exciting ways.
The Components of Digitalization Technological disruption and changing customer expectations provide opportunities to add value for customers in new ways and differentiate us from the competition. IoT technologies have an impact throughout practically the entire industry value chain. Digitalization is generally defined with the following five components:
- Use of sensors: to make equipment more intelligent and accessible
- Connectivity: enabling remote monitoring and diagnostics
- Data storage: through cloud computing and the consequent ability to quickly and easily scale up capacity
- Analytics: the latest high-powered analytic engines and algorithms enable the analysis of data in an effective way and turn it into understandable, visual information, which becomes invaluable through online apps and tools.
- Mobilization: bringing together the four above elements into a solution that can be delivered to end users’ businesses
How KONE Brings Together 24/7 Connected Services
Elevators and escalators that do not work properly have a significant impact on the way cities function. People may not get to work on time in office buildings and may have difficulty getting home.
Historically, elevators have been silent boxes on steel ropes with hardly any connectivity. Because they didn’t communicate, maintenance technicians did not have any way to know the equipment condition, except for finding out issues during regular maintenance visits or when people called to report a problem. Mobilizing the potential of digitalization takes us to a new frontier, where things happen in real time, where surveillance and events communication is permanent and where artificial intelligence (AI) can keep a watchful eye around the clock to provide immediate updates.
Imagine if you were able to connect, remotely monitor and optimize equipment performance, reliability and safety. The benefits for customers become very clear when vast amounts of data from elevator sensors can be monitored, analyzed and displayed in real time to predict faults and diagnose repairs. So, how do the five components of digitalization translate to KONE 24/7 Connected Services?
- Use of sensors — collecting data on equipment: devices installed on the equipment gathers information on the elevator’s key operating parameters, usage statistics and faults.
- Connecting the equipment for KONE 24/7 Connected Services: the equipment sends information in real time to the cloud.
- Use of the cloud — data storage: data is stored in the Cloud, together with data on other equipment, giving the capacity to create analytics.
- Big-data analytics through partnering with Watson: the analytics engine uses intelligent algorithms on the equipment data and makes comparisons with other data collected from other equipment. If the analytics engine identifies a need for maintenance, it can trigger an alert for technical support, customer service or a technician.
- Mobilizing to deliver solutions to KONE customers, end users and employees: by making intelligent analyses on the data received from the elevator, we understand the equipment condition and move into the predictive era. Through our mobile and web-based applications, we make data and information available to our customers, while also, in some cases, developing new services for end users.
KONE 24/7 Connected Services Is About Connecting People and Equipment
Today, our customers are at the forefront of using technology to change the way urban environments function and how people live. We are investing heavily for a connected world in these areas:
- Connecting equipment with technology that thinks ahead: results are showing better cooperation and more satisfied customers.
- Connecting our customers by making the complex simple and creating new online services for architects or designers to collaborate on things like building modeling and elevator design. We also provide online and mobile tools for communication with our service customers.
- Connecting consumers with new apps and services like KONE Residential Flow, making coming home simpler and more intuitive.
- Connecting our people with apps for reporting from onsite to keep customers updated, and with new learning tools and methods that help our teams understand customer needs, throughout the building lifecycle.
By understanding the journey people need to make from door to destination and by anticipating the needs of our customers, we can harness digitalization to create better buildings, better cities and a better world. By taking the point of view of the people who use our products and services in towns and cities, and by understanding how people can move around more easily, we can help them have a more enjoyable experience.
For KONE today, it means using real-time data and analytics as preventive maintenance gets smarter. It means improving the customer experience with real-time monitoring. Or, it can mean sustainable, smart buildings making better use of energy and resources. For consumers, it means a better, personalized experience through the whole elevator and escalator journey.
Another significant element is the ability to connect KONE 24/7 Connected Services to earlier generations of equipment, as well as customers’ other equipment, irrespective of the manufacturer. This means we can bring our customers the benefits of IoT, artificial intelligence and peace of mind across the wide portfolio of their assets.
The Immediate Benefits of KONE 24/7 Connected Services
KONE 24/7 Connected Services can increase safety, transparency and intelligence, which can offer more peace of mind for the customer.
Elevators are on duty 24/7. If a sudden problem occurs, detailed information tells us what is causing the issue and how urgent the matter is. By keeping constant watch, we can respond quickly. In addition, the components that are essential for the safety of the elevators are under surveillance.
If critical failures are detected and a technician alerted, customers are informed. When fully aware of what is going on, they can also make better plans. Improved reporting on maintenance work will increase the transparency of our work.
Intelligence and Predictive Capabilities
Using the latest technology, we can predict and act before breakdowns, and keep our technicians one step ahead of what’s happening. The result: fewer faults, faster repairs and higher availability.
KONE 24/7 Connected Services is a round-the-clock service that continuously gathers data on equipment conditions. We analyze this data in real time and use it to make intelligent, proactive decisions on how to solve potential problems before they become an issue — or before they even occur.
When a problem needs our attention, we know about it right away and can quickly decide on the right course of action. Information is shared and stored in a transparent format that can be tailored to our customers’ reporting needs or systems, so they stay fully informed of what’s happening — and what we have prevented from happening.
The traditional process involves the customer calling KONE, then the technician doing visual troubleshooting of the equipment failure and, possibly, an extra trip back to the warehouse to fetch the right spare parts when the root cause is found. With 24/7 Connected Services, we can often get the information of the breakdown remotely, sometimes even before the customer or end users realize a problem has occurred. We can also provide readily analyzed data to our service technicians, who will know the cause of failure and be able to reserve the right spare parts before driving to the site. Hence, with the 24/7 Connected Services data from the equipment, we can provide more effective service with faster response times in case of breakdowns.
Digitalization also means bringing to our technicians remote support from our Technical Help Desk when they are onsite, using augmented reality and communication tools — for example, video connecting applications that enable our remote support team to connect with technicians and advise from a distance.
A Practical Example of 24/7 Connected Services
Today, we gather data and analyze over 200 parameters from elevators. Here are some examples of the data that can be collected: door opening and closing behavior, position and movement in the elevator shaft, usage statistics, stopping accuracy and stopping behavior, and mileage and drive time.
Let’s take an elevator where the user has pushed the button to travel to the fourth floor. When the elevator doors have already started to close, someone hurries into the elevator. The light curtain detects the person entering the elevator and opens the doors again for him or her. This is a door reopening, and it is normal to have quite a few of those per day. IBM Watson will learn by constantly gathering data how many of these “normal reopenings” usually happen on this very elevator. In addition, IBM Watson “understands” the typical behavior of door reopenings for a vast number of elevators in our maintenance portfolio.
In this example, let’s imagine now that the door reopening phenomenon starts to increase, far beyond this elevator’s common behavior and far beyond what is observed on other equipment. It is very probable there is a technical problem behind the trend. IBM Watson would have noticed the increasing trend remotely and, hence, been able to send a technician to fix the underlying issue (a problem with the light curtain) before the actual breakdown.
24/7 Connected Services Creates Additional Value for Customers
Digitalization is clearly raising expectations regarding services. In this new digital age, users are looking for higher service levels and ongoing improvements in customer engagement and experience. In modern life, everybody is now expecting to get real-time information: to follow in “real time” the arrival of a pizza ordered by smartphone, when the next bus will show up at the bus stop or the estimated delivery time of a parcel delivered from abroad.
Expectations are growing for reliability of the services; the availability of information regarding these services; and, of course, the reliability of the information. With our elevator and escalator services’ reliability, we can include maximizing uptime, reducing downtime in case of a problem, providing solid back-in-service dates and more.
Together with the capacity to connect equipment, customers, end users and our people, the availability of enormous amounts of data opens the way to invent and design new services tailored to the needs of each customer. We have a service design approach that puts customers first, enables a deep understanding of their
needs and allows for multiple iterations to refine the best solution tailored to, and enabling differentiation for, those own needs.
KONE’s 24/7 Connected Services will contribute to the value of the building owner’s assets by enabling data-based asset- management planning, which allows the owner to promote differentiation that helps improve revenues and profits. Building owners and operators who can offer value-adding benefits, such as better accessibility and availability, more convenient communication and more adapted people-flow design, will be a step ahead when it comes to attracting tenants to their residential buildings or malls, or to ensure smooth infrastructure operations.
Our customers operate very different types of buildings — retail, residential, schools, hotels, hospitals, airports and metro stations, to name but a few. All have different needs, and we can co-create unique services to match these needs with better predictability, planning and peace of mind. We also want to bring artificial intelligence to our services, which will help us develop new services and new features to better serve individual customers.
In the face of rapid urbanization and digitalization, the need to create better buildings, better cities and a better world means taking advantage of new technologies and services. In so doing, we can ensure that buildings serve the people who live and work in them in smarter ways.
Building owners and operators are under huge pressure to deliver infrastructure, living environments, and work or shopping spaces that meet the ever-higher expectations of modern society. Failure to keep up with the rapid pace of change has significant implications in terms of competitiveness and business bottom line. At the end of the day, KONE believes new technologies and connectivity provide an opportunity to add value for customers in new ways that better meet their specific needs. At the same time, technological development has changed their expectations on speed, transparency and intelligence. Our 24/7 Connected Services and the digitalization elements are opening new frontiers. Connecting capacity with analytics and applying them to the data gathered on the actual usage of the elevators (and comparisons to other data of other elevators), will help building operators improve people flow and tenant satisfaction, as well as gather other useful information about their facilities.
KONE is turning these challenges into opportunities with the help of innovative new solutions: KONE Residential Flow and KONE People Flow Planning and Consulting are good examples of offerings that can come together with 24/7 Connected Services to help our customers improve their business. These solutions — based on a deep understanding of the dynamics of our customers’ businesses and the needs of the different end-user groups — help customers differentiate and reinforce KONE’s position as a trusted partner.
From low-rise buildings to the world’s highest skyscrapers; from the demands of shopping malls, hotels, airports and transit hubs, to cruise ships, stadiums and concert halls, KONE has always been dedicated to people flow and is proud to serve some of the world’s most well-known buildings and urban complexes.
Digital technologies and connectivity enable access to new types of services and utilities that are cheaper and easier to use than ever before. New technologies that were once only available to a few are becoming widespread across the globe. This means that the billion people who use KONE equipment each day increasingly expect new levels of simplicity, speed and convenience while on the move.
The use of digitalization to bring connected services into our offering enables a safer environment, transparency, predictive capabilities and adds to our customers’ own value propositions.
Altogether, 24/7 Connected Services helps to improve the flow of urban life, which helps make cities better places to live.