Kone partners with IBM IoT for smarter buildings
Kone partners with IBM IoT for smarter buildings

Kone partners with IBM IoT for smarter buildings

Finnish lift manufacturer Kone has signed a multi-year deal with IBM to use the Watson cloud platform as part of its growing Internet of Things (IoT) strategy.  

The new deal will see Kone transform the way it runs its vast network of lifts, escalators, doors and turnstiles, using the cloud to remotely monitor and manage global maintenance.

In an interview with Computer Weekly, Teppo Voutilainen, head of new services and solutions at Kone, confirmed that the company will be using the IBM Watson cloud platform to store and collect incoming data from over a million units currently running in the field.

“We will also use the analytics tools IBM offers to create insight from these data sets and drive our business forward”, he said.

Kone has stated that by gathering and analysing data from its equipment remotely, it will be able to spot trends, predict problems before they occur and ultimately minimise downtime. It’s also hoped that sensors will pinpoint problems more accurately to help engineers speed up repairs. In some cases engineers may not even be needed, as a number of technical issues could be managed directly from the cloud.

Although Kone’s latest equipment comes with embedded remote control functions, the IBM agreement will ensure it incorporates sensors into older equipment too.

As well as maintaining its own small army of equipment, Kone is seeking to develop a range of solutions for smart buildings and open the cloud platform up to its commercial partners and third-party developers through application programming interfaces (APIs).

Also read: Internet of Things – the building blocks for smart cities and smarter business

Growing markets for IoT products

Thyssenkrupp Elevator launched its own cloud-powered analytics and maintenance technology in partnership with Microsoft last year and has started to see the potential benefits of IoT systems.

Speaking exclusively with Internet of Business, Thyssenkrupp CEO Andreas Schierenbeck said: “In the elevator market, the potential benefits of IoT systems are huge, especially in developing countries and rapid urban growth countries like China, where the demand for tall buildings is driving the installation of half a million elevators and escalators every year.

According to Schierenbeck – who wrote on IoB recently about the future of smart cities, the benefits go beyond improving efficiencies in real-time. “In these areas, Cloud-based technology can not only deliver significant efficiency improvements through connectivity, but can also serve as a training aid and partner to rapidly upskill new elevator engineers so that they are able to cope with this construction boom”.

The importance of clarity

Speaking to IoB, CMO of IoT software platform Dizmo Luigi Mantellassi emphasised the importance of having a clear picture of all the data collected from IoT products in commercial buildings. “Managers and supervisors need to have a 360º view of all the systems, which is only going to grow more difficult and tech heavy as this mass influx of products and data-sources becomes IoT-enabled”, he said.

“IoT dashboards need to become more fluid, ‘on demand’ tools where the user modularly selects the visualisations needed. You cannot offer all the options to all of the people all of the time or it becomes unusable, and people haven’t necessarily solved that piece of the puzzle yet.”

Taking place on 5th-6th April in Munich, the Internet of Manufacturing is the only event exploring how IoT can create smarter and more competitive factories to achieve the vision of Industrie 4.0. Advanced case studies will be showcased by Konecranes, Daimler, Siemens, Airbus and more. Click here to register!

Also read: IBM’s Watson brings Internet of Things innovation to Finland