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UK Construction Exclusive with Steve Leigh on IoT and new style building

UK Construction Media talk to Steve Leigh – head of KONE’s service business in Great Britain, on how  technology improves aspects in new style building.

Can you tell me how real-time data is being used by KONE?

We use real-time data in many areas at KONE.

Our 24/7 Connected Services is an exciting solution which will enable equipment to be connected, bringing real-time data and more insights for customers and service technicians. It means data from lift sensors can be monitored, analysed and displayed in real-time, improving equipment performance, reliability and safety.

Another example is with our agreement with Salesforce, to give an improved all-round view of our customers for people working in field operations and field service management. Here, real-time data will be used for scheduling of maintenance work, dispatching of maintenance engineers and visibility and access to customer, contract, equipment and spare part information to support pro-active customer communication.

At the end of the day, new technologies and connectivity provide an opportunity to add value for customers in new ways that meet better their specific needs. At the same time, technological development has changed their expectations on speed, transparency and predictability.

What kind of connectivity can the products provide?

Data means a completely new experience for KONE’s customers, where equipment can be monitored and taken care of, meaning less downtime, fewer faults and detailed information on maintenance work. With respect to lifts today, we can monitor up to 200 critical parameters. Data such as door operations, number of starts, temperature, stopping accuracy, as well as a lot of mechanical and engineering data.

However at KONE, we think connectivity is an enabler, an enabler to bring better services to our customers,  and our people – especially our people in the field and supervisors – bringing more insight, data, and tools, which ultimately meet our customers’ changing needs and expectations on speed, transparency and predictability.

How is KONE using the Internet of Things when it comes to new style buildings?

Buildings are getting smarter, and new ecosystems will emerge around smart buildings and cities. Smarter buildings will likely include more sensors and cloud technologies that can harnesses data within buildings, to make People Flow more enjoyable, personal and accessible.

Connectivity and IoT is only one part of the equation. What KONE is doing with IBM Watson IoT helps us to build intelligence and analytics, to make sense of the data in order to bring value to customers, meaning we can serve them better.

How is technology able to improve aspects of a building such as sustainability?

Technologies can help facility owners and managers to improve the overall energy and resource efficiency of their buildings, while improving people flow. In terms of sustainability and energy efficiency – Over the years, we have become a pioneer in developing eco-efficient solutions in the lift and escalator industry. The biggest environmental impact of our solutions relates to the amount of electricity used by the equipment over its lifetime.

The technology in our products and services can significantly reduce elevator and escalator energy consumption, while reducing waiting time for users. Over time, a new lift can save up to 70% of energy consumption.

Is sustainability a key driving force behind your technology?

Sustainability is part of everything we do; it is not only about environmental performance and safety. It is about how we conduct our business and work in society.

As urbanisation increases, we believe we have a strong role to improve the flow of urban life, adding value to the life cycle of any building.  We want to raise living standards and bring people together in harmony with their surroundings in the most sustainable ways.

Innovation has the potential to improve speed and efficiency, and we are working hard to bring innovations closer to customers, and bring new services and solutions faster into the market.

What are the benefits for people using the products?

The benefits of 24/7 Connected Services are better service, less downtime and the provision of clearer information, which means people will enjoy better services with less waiting, lifts in better condition. In future, there will be the potential to introduce new personalised experiences for consumers, based on preferences, needs and what our customers want to deliver.

Are the products getting a positive response?

Yes! This is a real game-changer in the industry and we are developing a true intelligent lift and escalator service platform which will use Watson’s cognitive capabilities in future. Our customised approach for maintenance services is designed together with customers, for our customers, to help them to better succeed in their business and add value in totally new ways. Customer feedback has been positive and we are piloting in many countries around the world.

In addition, our demo has got fantastic coverage, leading to people all around the world talking about the potential of AI for lifts and service.

Can the products be custom-made for unique specifications?

With our KONE Care offering, we can help customers build their own contract, based on their needs and their business. There are also a range of new tools and technologies being introduced. Our customers operate very different buildings – retail, residential, schools, hotels and hospitals, to name a few. All have different needs and we will be able to offer unique services to match.

Not only are we able to customise services based on our customers’ individual needs – with better predictability and planning and peace of mind – but we will also bring Artificial Intelligence to our services which will help predict and suggest resolutions to potential problems.

What further advancements do you predict for the future?

The trend four the building industry and especially for the lift & escalator industry continues to be driven by urbanisation, with the need for broader living and working environments, in combination with excellent public transportation infrastructure. Above all, technologies will enable us to bring different services and equipment to better serve individual customers – and I think KONE is well placed to lead the way for the industry.