Texas-based Kings III describes the evolution of its ORM service.
David Bryant (DB), vice president at Kings III Emergency Communications, took the time to talk with ELEVATOR WORLD (EW) about the company’s Online Remote Monitoring (ORM) performance monitoring and event notification service, which it describes as versatile and affordable. ORM’s Elevator Monitoring Interrogation Tool (EMIT) provides an at-a-glance look at a location’s entire vertical- transportation (VT) system (including moving walks) using existing cellular service, Ethernet or Wi-Fi connection. EMIT detects degrading performance, issues notifications and provides a record of service visits. The service is available regardless of controller type.
EW: Has Kings III offered remote monitoring for elevators since the company’s inception? If not, when and how did that develop? Was it an outgrowth of your emergency phones for elevators?
DB: The company started solely as an elevator emergency-entrapment response service. As our customer base grew, we expanded to manufacturing phones and have been awarded patents for some of our industry-leading emergency-communications solutions. Today, we provide full-service emergency monitoring for more than 50,000 help phones integrating equipment design, installation, monitoring and maintenance. As an outgrowth of our elevator emergency-phone business, we noticed a need in the industry for an elevator performance-monitoring solution that was universal in its connectivity format. ORM was developed to meet that need and is currently in its third generation.
EW: Tell me about what was involved in developing ORM for VT systems. Did Kings III work with software developers or independent elevator consultants?
DB: ORM was developed based on years of experience from Kings III in the elevator industry, current Kings III elevator contractor customers, former elevator company operators (including our CEO Dennis Mason, who, prior to joining Kings III, owned and operated a California-based elevator company and also worked for Lerch Bates Inc. as a consultant and licensed elevator mechanic). These elevator-industry professionals teamed up with in-house developers at Kings III to develop the hardware and software that powers our ORM system.
EW: Describe the typical Kings III elevator-industry remote-monitoring customer. How does Kings III connect with them, and what kind of entities are they — governments, building owners/managers, independent elevator contractors, major OEMs?
DB: Our ORM customers run the gamut from government entities, building owners/managers to independent elevator contractors. We primarily connect with our customers through referrals from our elevator contractor partners, industry conferences and other marketing efforts.
EW: Approximately how many people are employed in the Kings III elevator communications division, and where are they located? Do you anticipate expanding that division anytime soon, particularly in terms of remote monitoring? If so, when and why?
DB: Staffing is currently at 110 team members placed throughout the continental U.S. Although our resources span coast to coast, the majority are located at our corporate offices just north of the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. We are expanding in many areas to serve the elevator industry and continue to be a disruptor that innovates in our product and service delivery.
EW: What are your biggest markets for ORM and why?
DB: Our largest markets for ORM mirror our largest markets for emergency-phone monitoring services, but, being a private company, we don’t disclose those details.
EW: Do you have any ORM client success stories?
DB: ORM’s primary value is in giving the customer insight as to how their elevators are operating without having to physically be in front of them. Some customers simply want to know if the car is operational, some want to know usage statistics, and others may want detailed history of monitored events to guide their elevator maintenance program. ORM provides valuable knowledge and insight into the car’s performance and its history to help avoid larger problems in the future.
One of our success stories is a light-rail system that needed confirmation daily that the elevator cars along the line were functional prior to the peak traffic times each day. Prior to ORM, the confirmation method was to have someone ride each elevator, each day, early in the morning. Now, with ORM installed, the system places a top- and bottom-floor call to the elevator, causing the car to run, then confirms to the customer via email that the car successfully ran. This saves countless man hours that were previously necessary to test each elevator on a daily basis.
If a fault that could lead to a shutdown is detected, ORM can provide an electronic notification of the fault so maintenance can be proactively provided. A mechanic can also log in remotely to the ORM system to view a history of monitored events to aid in proper troubleshooting. Ensuring that the light-rail transportation was accessible by handicapped riders via the elevators was the customer’s primary motivator for installing ORM.