Implementing IoT Solutions in Elevator Maintenance

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In the past, elevator maintenance was usually predicated by the amount of time a mechanic spent on the job. Spending countless hours examining, lubricating, and adjusting for correct elevator operation was considered proper “preventative” maintenance. I have fond childhood memories of going to work with my step-father, and him teaching me how he performed elevator maintenance tasks diligently and thoroughly. Paying close attention to the nuances of operation. Seemingly, every elevator had a mind its own.

Unfortunately, it seems many mechanics are no longer able to spend this valuable time on their elevator equipment, and as a result they know less about the elevator’s current health. Mostly, the misfortune is due to the decreased ratio of mechanics to equipment, and previous maintenance standards being left to die. No longer does an elevator mechanic have an acceptable level of elevators to service each month. Now a technician could have as many as 400 elevators on their “Super” route. However, and perhaps more importantly, something has not changed about maintenance priorities. Decreasing elevator downtime was and always will be extremely important.

So the question has to be asked. How can we solve the problem of not enough information coming back about the elevator’s current health, and increase elevator uptimes? Industry leaders believe the Internet Of Things (IoT) can help, and I agree.

IoT solutions for elevators will allow for a new type of maintenance, through the use of “smart data.” Additionally, these new technologies will allow us to begin a transition away from our current “Fault-reactive” service practices, to a better “Fault-avoidance” practice. Currently, only a few elevator service companies are beginning to implement IoT solutions for their elevators. Furthermore, most of these companies are OEM’s and seeking to build solutions that fit within their own new business models. Rightfully so, since they can obtain even greater benefits due to being a manufacture. Yet, we think there is a need for IoT solutions, for all elevators, regardless of type or who may be servicing them.

Datahoist and their partners believe in non-proprietary IoT solutions. So all elevator service companies can benefit from the same “smart data” coming off the elevator equipment, and not just the OEM’s. Additionally, building owners and facility managers require non-proprietary 3rd party solutions, so they can continue to seek competitive bids for service and repairs.

Furthermore, If the elevator IoT solution has the ability to work on any elevator and for any service company, we can all support the owner of the building more efficiently. Not only that, but the service company will have the ability for new revenue streams, with the added services available.

While all this sounds great, pulling data from all types of elevators is more difficult than most would think. However, new IoT technologies have made this increasingly easier to complete. Advances in wireless networking technology, and a greater standardization of communications protocols have made it possible to collect data from new sensors almost anywhere, and at any time of the day. Furthermore, silicon chips and sensors are gaining new capabilities, while costs are falling dramatically. Additionally, massive increases in storage and computing power, available via cloud and fog computing, have made solutions possible at a very large scale.

Ultimately, it helps to have the OEM’s and component/part manufactures on board too, and we like how they are beginning to think. The new IoT solutions to become available over the coming years for elevators are vast, and we are extremely excited to be part of this new frontier. Furthermore, we believe IoT solutions will solve the current and impeding issues facing the elevator industry.  We aim for those IoT solutions to be non-proprietary and available to everyone, so we are solving the problem for the everyone. In the end, the Internet Of Elevators may only be limited by how it is implemented.

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dan bryant

Dan is the CEO/CTO and creator of a new elevator technology called Datahoist. He's an entrepreneur, inventor, builder, and creator focused on IOT technology.