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As a leader in its industry, KONE has been adapting to digitalization by working hard to combine technology know-how and business agility. “If we want to have the best elevator, escalator and door selection for the best people flow experience – and the best performing field service – we will not get there by not doing anything,” says Antti Koskelin, CIO at KONE.
Koskelin uses the auto industry’s example to explain further. “Majority of the innovation in the car industry comes from software and digitalization. You start out with a very mechanical product - wheels, a chassis, engine, etc - but now we see autonomous cars, remote servicing, and diagnostics, which are very software driven,” he says.
"Connected cars are a reality, and consumer services are being added to a traditional equipment and maintenance business. There are many similarities to our businesses at KONE,” says Koskelin.
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The KONE CIO believes the key is to understand five crucial areas.
First is the use of sensors to make equipment more intelligent and accessible. KONE’s current access control systems integrate sensors in elevators, doors and smartphones.
The second is connectivity. Koskelin believes remote diagnostics are possible with today’s technologies. “We inspect thousands of elevators several times a year and if the elevator could be accessed remotely, or could highlight potential issues, then our technicians would not have to always travel to a site,” he notes.
Third is data storage and fourth he says, is analytics. While data storage is very cheap (which makes unlimited capacity and cloud technologies a reality), powerful analytic engines and algorithms, help analyze data more effectively, to improve, for instance, People Flow in crowded urban areas.
The fifth area is mobilization, which means being able to bring together a combination of the four others. “If we are able to put all of this into the hands of our field service technicians, it will lead to better services for our customers,” he adds.
“In digitalization, customer experience and user engagement is everything and the service level expected from suppliers in a digital era is very high,” says Koskelin.
From his perspective, the writing is on the wall. The future could hold the possibility of “just in time” 3D-printing of spare parts at the back of KONE service vehicles, before technicians arrive onsite.
Digitalization definitely brings an entertainment, operational, and business value. The combination is priceless.