It would be hard to disagree with the argument that connectivity has become a huge buzzword of the 21st Century so far. It has been implemented in varieties of ways and has led to increases in efficiency, cost savings, and a reduction of accidents and malfunctions. It is easy to see why the latest lift technology is joining the ‘connectivity’ sphere.
The automotive industry is an example of vast improvements made to product performance. For example, vehicles can now make use of app integration, replacing built-in GPS and radio systems. M2M systems allow for predictive maintenance scheduling which can increase the efficiency of fault identification and repair, as well as reducing wasted product life with better prediction of the deterioration of assets.
The benefits seen in the automotive industry can be applied within any other manufacturing or service industry. So how can this technology be applied within lifts and what benefits can be seen?
Connectivity within the lift industry using the latest elevator technology provides many benefits to providers, owners, and passengers, leading to a broader understanding of lift use and maintenance. These technologies use the following terminologies:
The Internet of Things (IoT) is the network of physical devices embedded with electronics and software which enable objects to connect and exchange data. This does not include the processing of the transferred data. Innovations in elevator technologies make lifts one of the latest members of the IOT.
Machine-to-Machine (M2M) is the direct communication between devices using any communications channel, including wired and wireless. After installation, M2M systems do not require human input or labour, other than for maintenance.
To incorporate connectivity into any system, sensors or measuring devices must be introduced. These products record specified data and transmit it for processing. The data is used to identify factors such as the distance a cabin travels or the condition of lift components. It can also be applied to the contents of a car, recording the number of passengers and the flow of traffic through a building.
The use of sensors in lift systems reduces lift downtime. Knowledge of a lift’s distance travelled, temperature variances and vibrations are used to increase the efficiency of maintenance personnel. By recording previous failures and using predictive analytics, engineers are informed before a malfunction occurs, allowing engineers to conduct preventative maintenance.
Scheduling is also improved by recording the life cycle of lifts in use. Maintenance currently follows a life-in-service timeline. For example, we assume a lift in a lobby is likely to see more use than a service lift. We assume the components of a lobby lift will deteriorate before the same components in a service lift. However, if you can record the actual lift’s performance, the distance travelled, or the weight applied within the cabin, you can start to paint an accurate picture of the lift’s performance and modify maintenance levels as required. With connectivity, assumptions on lift use are no longer necessary.
Advertisement venues are valued based on the number of potential impressions (or views) each ad receives.
By measuring the weight of a lift cabin, or recording the number of persons entering and exiting, you can gather data on the flow of people through a building per day, week, month or year.
Knowing how many people enter a cabin, and having the data to prove it, determines the value of the advertisement space within each lift or lobby.
Connectivity has substantial cost benefits as a result of more lifts being better maintained and overall running in a more efficient manner, and when used for advertising a connected lift can become a profit centre.
Other opportunities will emerge as future elevator technologies grow and additional opportunities for connectivity emerge including user interaction with lifts via apps on their personal mobile devices.