Award winning manufacturer of IT-based building automation.
EMAIL INTERVIEW – Chris Smith and Ken Sinclair
Chris Smith, VP, Service Innovation, Otis Elevator Company
Chris rejoined Otis
as Vice President, Service Innovation, in December 2016. Chris leads
the design and deployment of the Otis Internet of Things (IoT) market
strategy and will defines and implements changes to Otis’ service
infrastructure through IoT adoption. Working closely with Engineering
and Information Technology functions, Chris also leads Otis’ connected
products program to incorporate digital services and technology
solutions into the company’s existing and future installed base.
Chris holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and computer science from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, and a Master of Business Administration from Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.
Sinclair: How does elevator technology impact the opportunity and capabilities of smart buildings?
Smith: Otis today is
reinventing itself as a digital industrial company to meet the needs of
customers in the digital economy and the era of intelligent buildings,
smart cities, and hyper-connectivity.
New technologies are transforming the way we move, and rapid urbanization has made elevator and escalator technologies more critical than ever before. At the same time passengers have new expectations for their residences, workplaces and recreational spaces and as a result, our customers need service that is faster, more customized and more digital.
In today’s smart cities, everything is being tracked and analyzed using the Internet of Things (IoT) technologies, and these innovations play a critical role in the capabilities of smart buildings. Using IoT within the elevator allows us to understand the traffic patterns inside the walls of buildings better.
This information provides us with critical insights around how the building operates and is being used, how people move throughout it and how we can help our customers and their customers (tenants) use that data to optimize anticipated business inside the building.
Sinclair: What is Otis ONE and how does it work?
Smith: Otis ONE is our
unique IoT digital platform that brings remote diagnostics into the era
of Industry 4.0, harnessing the power of data analytics, machine
learning, and cloud computing to predict and prevent shutdowns. Instead
of our customers having to call us about an equipment issue, we’ll be
able to alert them often before they’re even aware there’s a potential
With Otis ONE, we’re able to collect real-time data via the cloud from individual elevators and escalators via smart sensors. But we’re not just collecting data on specific units. We’re using data analytics and machine learning to analyze trends on our hundreds of thousands of connected elevators to create advanced algorithms that can predict performance trends.
As an example, we know that an elevator shuts down an average of 3½ times a year. And 70 percent of the time, it’s because of a door-related problem. We now have algorithms that can tell us with close to 90 percent probability when there’s going to be a problem with a particular door.
With remote monitoring and predictive analytics, we can concentrate resources on the elevators that really need attention. We call this condition-based maintenance, and the implications are huge.
Otis ONE is also a flexible platform designed to incorporate future innovations and new capabilities.
Sinclair: Why does the industry need solutions like Otis ONE?
Smith: To make the most of the tall buildings, we need to understand how people move through them.
Additionally, IoT provides a foundational layer for buildings to add advanced-value added services to increase efficiency, safety, security and convenience for occupants. Technologies like Otis ONE help to build a service platform that’s sustainable and flexible enough to grow with the future of technology.
It’s smart, efficient and provides a more seamless experience for passengers and building operators alike.
With Otis ONE, for example, we’re providing:
Sinclair: How does IoT technology benefit customers in the smart building space?
Smith: IoT technology
improves transparency across all functions of a structure and can be
aggregated into a digital platform to pull key information as needed.
Insights are available in real time, to spot issues immediately, and in
some cases, even before they happen. Some of the many benefits of this
technology are reduced maintenance costs, the ability to predict when
new parts will need to be replaced so they can be sourced beforehand,
reduced downtime and the ability to resolve problems before they
compromise the efficiency of building operations. Essentially IoT helps
to make buildings truly intelligent.
And there are benefits for specific customers / users as well. For example, looking at the facility manager, his or her priorities related to their elevator systems are:
With Otis ONE, they can see complete
building performance in a single view. Looking at traffic patterns
alone, he / she can unlock innumerable operational efficiencies,
And there are additional benefits when
considering retail tenants and building owners and how they can use
elevator system data to improve their businesses and profitability.
Sinclair: How does this improve the passenger/occupant experience?
Smith: Passenger safety
has been a pillar of our core values since Elisha Otis first debuted
the elevator safety brake in 1854, and his son Charles Otis signed the
first service contract in 1861. Over the past 165 years, we’ve
continued to improve upon our commitment to safety and wellbeing for
our riders across the world using the best technologies available. IoT
marks a new era in the passenger experience as predictive maintenance
is helping to eliminate any issues riders might experience before they
happen – offering improved uptime and less disruption. And, our
customers benefit from enhanced reliability, efficiency, stronger
communication, and real-time equipment updates
Sinclair: How will this type of technology drive innovation forward for smart cities?
In today’s digital economy, disruptive technologies like IoT are
helping us to reimagine the way we interact with everything in our
daily lives. Solutions like Otis ONE are a great example of how IoT
drives innovation forward by streamlining processes, creating more cost
and labor efficient solutions and providing customers with access to
better and more valuable insights than ever before. In essence, IoT
enables smart buildings, which are the building blocks of a smart city.
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