New Infrastructure of Elevator Remote Monitoring System and Expansion of Services
Hitachi’s HERIOS and BUILCARE Network Service add benefits to remote monitoring and control.
by Shunji Takao, Ryouichi Sakai and Masaaki Yoshida
This paper was presented at Madrid 2016, the International Congress on Vertical Transportation Technologies, and first published in IAEE book Elevator Technology 21, edited by A. Lustig. It is a reprint with permission from the International Association of Elevator Engineers (website: www.elevcon.com).
The elevator remote monitoring and control system by Hitachi Building Systems Co., Ltd. provides an advanced remote failure monitoring function. Not only that, we have developed a customer-operable remote control service and information-display service inside the car utilizing the system’s platform.
In 2014, we innovated the line to allow remote monitoring, from an analog line to a Long-Term Evolution (LTE) line and, in 2015, taking advantage of its high-speed/-capacity data communication power, we started more attractive services with a focus on image data. In this article, we introduce our new communication infrastructure for elevator remote monitoring and new services utilizing it.
Figure 1 shows the configuration of our elevator remote monitoring system, called Hitachi Equipment Remote and Intelligent Observation System (HERIOS). HERIOS has three major functions to provide safety and comfort:
- Failure monitoring: HERIOS checks system health 24/7. When it detects the problem, an alarm is automatically issued to the remote control center with an error report. The remote control center dispatches preferable maintenance engineers to ensure rapid response to the jobsite.
- Operation data collecting: HERIOS collects the various operation data and diagnoses the elevator status. This establishes the preventive-maintenance plan for each elevator, thereby ensuring reduction in downtime.
- Remote control: HERIOS can control the elevator remotely. For example, when a trapped accident occurs, the remote control center staff can operate the elevator remotely to facilitate rescue.
Furthermore, we have been providing the BUILCARE Network Service, which allows the customer to control or set various elevator functions (Table 1) via the Internet. BUILCARE Network Service enhances comfort and convenience of passengers and administrators, not only in emergencies, but also during regular operation. (HERIOS and BUILCARE are registered trademarks of Hitachi Building System Co., Ltd. in Japan.)
New Remote-Monitoring Infrastructure
Referring to the various remote monitoring services with a focus on the HERIOS and BUILCARE Network Service, the aggregation and use of much more data, including data from sensors and image data, will be required in the future to further improve the safety, comfort and convenience of elevator systems.
Figure 1 shows the configuration of the remote-monitoring system for the conventional HERIOS system that connects customers’ elevators and the remote control center. For the remote-monitoring network in this configuration, we used a wired or wireless analog telephone network.
In recent years, digital high-speed mobile Internet Protocol (IP) communication network infrastructure has been widespread. To use this benefit for remote monitoring, we adopted the LTE mobile telephone network for a new monitoring network. As a result, high-speed/-capacity communication and parallel processing, which are the features of IP communication, became possible (Figure 2). Thus, we improved the infrastructure toward further upgraded and expanded services.
Advanced Services Based on New Remote-Monitoring Infrastructure
BUILCARE Network Service is improved by adoption of the LTE mobile telephone network for the remote monitoring network. Some of the services will be described below.
Video Data Download
In-car security cameras are effective to suppress criminal incidents and are popular in Japan. When the administrator wants to check the recorded video data, conventionally, a maintenance engineer would visit the jobsite and manually extract the recorded data. New features allow the customer to download video data via the Internet, thereby ensuring immediacy and the streamlining of administrative work.
Customer’s Original Image Data Upload
The enhanced BUILCARE Network Service allows the customer to upload the customer’s original images and display them on the in-car display, such as advertisements in shop buildings or notices of events in apartment buildings. It aims to enhance the value of the elevator for the administrators and users.
The rescue of trapped passengers is important in maintenance service. HERIOS already has the high-level function that allows the rescue of trapped passengers using the remote control function. When an entrapment occurs, HERIOS remotely analyzes the failure state and rescues the trapped passenger, while keeping voice communication.
We enhanced the remote-rescue function so we can check the video of the in-car security camera when the remote control center receives the emergency call through the intercom so it is possible to display the image of the remote control center staff on the in-car display. In addition, we handled the conventional analog communication as we switch the data transfer among voice communication. This caused the temporary conversation interruption in the remote rescue operation. With the new LTE monitoring network, however, it became possible to process the data transfer without interrupting the voice communication, even for the data transfer containing video data, which contributed to reducing customers’ concerns.
Hitachi Building Systems Co., Ltd. has operated HERIOS, which serves the remote-monitoring, diagnosis and remote control services and provides elevator passengers and administrators with safety and security. Furthermore, the BUILCARE Network Service has provided much more improved comfort and convenience.
Recently, we developed more attractive services with a focus on image data by applying the high-speed and -capacity remote-monitoring networks based on the LTE mobile telephone network. The remote-monitoring network is the infrastructure that constitutes the base of the Internet of Things environment for the elevator field, and it will enable advanced aggregation and utilization of machine data, including the diversification of objects such as data of various sensors to be monitored.