An increase in the number of accidents involving malfunctioning lifts, which have resulted in injuries of several people, has raised concerns over the safety and reliability of elevator systems in Hong Kong.
Otis, a manufacturer and maintainer of people-moving products, including elevators, escalators and moving walkways, is offering innovative solutions powered by digital technology and the Internet of Things (IoT) to deliver a higher level of safe, personalized service.
Paschal Lennon, director of global major projects at Otis, recently sat down with the Hong Kong Economic Journal to discuss his company’s new solutions for elevator installation, maintenance and modernization.
Lennon said that in the past, clients monitor the elevator on their own via the company’s “Remote Elevator Monitoring” (REM) system.
In case of an elevator failure, however, the clients would have to contact Otis’ maintenance team for an urgent repair while stopping the elevator during the period. Of course, this will cause inconvenience to customers and passengers.
In recent years, Otis has been promoting the digitization of elevator repair and maintenance services. It has launched a new elevator monitoring system, Otis ONE, which can keep track of the elevator’s operating status in real time through sensors installed in various parts of the elevator that collect and analyze data.
With the remote sensing and IoT-powered technology, it can detect system failures in advance, pre-order needed parts and arrange for the repair of the lift.
When the system receives an abnormal operation data, say, the temperature of a certain part is higher than normal, it will notify the client and allow it to decide whether precautionary measures will be taken before the expected failure occurs, or leave it until the next routine inspection.
Lennon believes it can “establish a better connection between our company, our products, and our clients while keeping the operational and safety condition of the elevators highly transparent among related parties”.
Lennon noted that there are more than 7,800 high-rises in the city, which is why lifts and escalators are extremely heavily used here.
The lifts that Otis operates in Hong Kong open and close their doors more than 9 million times daily, according to the company’s figures.
He said Otis ONE, which can also be used in old elevators through the addition of seniors and minor adjustments, has already been adopted in over 20 pilot programs in the city, mainly in infrastructure and commercial buildings.
Otis has also rolled out its eCall mobile app, which allows passengers to call an elevator in advance by pre-entering the destination floor through the mobile app. The on-demand elevator service is expected to shorten the time spent on waiting for the lift while improving the efficiency of lifts.
The eCall app is now being ised at the UTC Center for Intelligent Buildings in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, and several other Otis projects in Europe.
Lennon believes Otis’ IoT-powered solutions fit into the Hong Kong government’s smart city initiative, which seeks to merge advanced technology and infrastructure to improve the places and spaces where people live and work.
Lennon said Otis will put more effort on introducing smart lifts to the government, local developers, property management units, and others.
“The most important thing for technology innovation is to let people see what benefits innovation can bring them,” Lennon said, adding that the government needs to recognize the real needs of the people when promoting its smart city plan.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on July 16
Translation by Ben Ng with additional reporting
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