Introducing the Huawei talking elevator

One of the more common references to the potential of IoT is the talking fridge but Huawei has gone one step further with the connected elevator.

Speaking alongside its new elevator manufacturing partner Schindler at Huawei Connect 2016, Huawei’s Swift Liu introduced the world to the connected elevator. Built on an SDN driven architecture, the latest step in the drive towards IoT will allow manufacturers to proactively manage the maintenance and condition of lifts. Although it does not sound ground-breaking to start with, the announcement does demonstrate the long promise of IoT; anything that can be connected will be connected.

Aside from providing another anecdote for industry commentators to describe the internet of things, the connected lift does also demonstrate an important step in the progress of IoT; edge analytics. The Schindler and Huawei team claim to now have a proposition which is no-longer 100% reliant on the cloud for IoT to run effectively.

By processing the data on site and removing the process of transferring data to the cloud, time, money and storage space is saved. Not all data has to be transferred back to the cloud, only the mission critical data sets, though to date the technology has not caught up to allow information to be evaluated and actions taken on-site. Should the team be able to fulfil the claims on edge analytics, it is an important step to the realization of IoT.

The initiative does also answer another question which has been tenuously asked by numerous decision makers throughout the world; where’s the money? This is an example of proactive maintenance which also has an eye on the future. As the world’s population continues to grow, with trends placing more strain on the urban populations, the need to condense construction will become greater. Buildings will get taller, and the requirements for elevators to operate quickly, effectively and cheaply will also continue to grow.

It sounds menial but think back to the frustration experienced while waiting for a lift at 8.55am on a Monday morning. In London where buildings are of a ‘sensible’ size, this is not so much of a problem, but what about in Shanghai where dozens of 30-40 plus story buildings are dominating the sky-line. Malfunctioning lifts become much more of an issue when tens of thousands of employees are climbing a mountain of stairs each day. Schindler and Huawei are able to catch these malfunctions, and fix the problem before they become a serious issue. Like local government, if technology is working effectively, no-one will say anything.

Once again, it sounds menial, but that is the promise of IoT and technology on the whole. Incremental additions every day, which alone means nothing, but combined, creates a world which operates seamlessly (in theory). So the connected elevator isn’t that bad after all.

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