New Infrastructure of Elevator Remote Monitoring System and Expansion of Services
Hitachi innovations improve response to problems and offer customers offsite access to displays and other functions.
This paper was presented at Madrid 2016, the International Congress on Vertical Transportation Technologies, and first published in the 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).
by Shunji Takao, Ryouichi Sakai and Masaaki Yosh
Hitachi Building Systems Co., Ltd.’s elevator remote monitoring and control system provides an advanced remote failure monitoring function. We have also 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, took advantage of its high-speed/high-capacity data communication power to start 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.
We have been providing elevator systems and maintenance services for more than 80 years. Figure 1 shows the configuration of our elevator remote monitoring system, called the Hitachi Equipment Remote and Intelligent Observation System (HERIOS®). HERIOS has the following three major functions to provide safety and comfort in using the elevator.
- Failure monitoring: HERIOS checks the health of the unit 24 hours. When it detects a problem, an alarm is issued automatically to the remote control center with an error report. The remote control center dispatches maintenance engineers to ensure rapid response to the jobsite.
- Operation data collecting: HERIOS collects the various operation data and diagnoses elevator status to establish a preventive maintenance plan for each elevator, thereby reducing non-operating time.
- Remote control HERIOS: can control the elevator remotely. For example, if a person becomes trapped, the remote control center staff can operate the elevator and rescue the trapped passenger remotely.
Further, we have been providing the BUILCARE® Network Service, which allows the customer to control or set various elevator functions, as shown in Table 1, via the Internet. The service provides enhanced comfort and convenience for passengers and administrators not only in emergencies, but also during normal operation.
New Remote Monitoring Infrastructure
Referring to the various remote monitoring services with a focus on HERIOS and the BUILCARE Network Service, the aggregation and use of much more data, including data from sensors and image sources, 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 wired or wireless analog telephone.
In recent years, the infrastructure for the digital high-speed mobile Internet Protocol (IP) communication network has seen a wide expansion. To use this infrastructure for remote monitoring, we adopted the LTE mobile telephone network as our monitoring network. As a result, high-speed/high-capacity communication and parallel processing, which are features of IP communication, became possible (Figure 2), and we have thus improved the infrastructure toward further upgraded and expanded services.
Advanced Services Based on New Remote Monitoring Infrastructure
The BUILCARE Network Service is improved by the adoption of LTE for the remote monitoring network. Some of these improvements are as follows.
Video Data Download
In-car security cameras are popular in Japan because they are effective in deterring criminal activity. In the past, when an administrator wanted to check the recorded video data, a maintenance engineer typically would visit the site and manually extract the recorded video data. The new function allows 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 original images, such as advertisements or notices of events, and display them on the in-car display. In this way, it can enhance the value of the elevator for the administrators and users alike.
Remote Rescue for Trapped Riders
The rescue of trapped passengers is important in maintenance service. HERIOS already has a high-level function that allows the rescue of trapped passengers using the remote control function. When a trapped-passenger incident occurs, HERIOS remotely analyzes the failure state and rescues the trapped passenger, while maintaining 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 and made it possible to display the image of the remote control center staff on the in-car display. The new system also improves the simultaneous transmission of data transfer and voice communication. A conventional analog communication system must switch between data and voice communication, causing temporary interruption of the conversation. With the new LTE monitoring network, however, it is now possible to process the data transfer without interrupting the voice communication — even for the transfers containing video data — which helps reduce the customer’s concerns.
Hitachi Building Systems Co., Ltd.’s HERIOS system serves the remote monitoring, diagnosis and control services, providing safety and security for elevator passengers and administrators. Further, the BUILCARE Network Service provides much-improved comfort and convenience. Recently, we developed more attractive services with a focus on image data by applying the high-speed and high-capacity remote monitoring networks based on LTE.
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, use and utilization of machine data, including the diversification of objects, such as data of various sensors, to be monitored. We hope that evolutionally advanced and attractive services, wherein all customers will be able to feel more security and comfort, will be the source of our competitive position in the future.