The increasing amount of data collected by sensors embedded in elevators, buildings, cars and even appliances in our homes is expected to change the way we live in rapidly urbanizing cities. To make sense of this sea of data, KONE partners with IBM.

An estimated 29 billion devices and sensors are currently embedded in everyday objects from cars, to buildings and bridges. Household items like toasters and refrigerators, items of clothing, and even parts of our bodies are being connected to the internet.

The need to manage, understand and analyze constant streams of data is the driving force behind the coming together of two industry leaders to create and improve services for KONE’s customers and end users.

KONE will use IBM’s IoT and cloud development platforms to gather data from various sensors and systems connected to KONE’s elevators, escalators, doors and turnstiles used by around a billion people each day.

IBM’s Watson platform uses natural language processing and machine learning to reveal insights from large amounts of unstructured data. It became world famous in 2011 when it successfully competed against human contestants in the general knowledge game show Jeopardy. Antti Koskelin, CIO at KONE explains why the platform was chosen:

“By utilizing the Watson IOT platform, we can dramatically improve the reliability, the uptime of elevators and escalators, and bring a better experience, shorten journey times and improve the flow of people in big cities. Our differentiation will come from how we can best utilize the insights to improve our service to our customers."


“Our systems reason and create hypotheses about what may be happening, and, crucially, they learn. That means, the more data these systems ingest, the better they get. In KONE’s hands these technologies will help engineers to figure out in advance when a part in an elevator may need servicing or replacing enabling predictive maintenance,” she IBM’s Harriet Green.

Overall, people’s journeys in buildings will be personalized, faster, secure, and better. Putting a flexible platform in place means the list of potential benefits is only limited by the customers’ imaginations. “Another quick win for building managers is to figure out which floors of a building may need elevators waiting in advance at certain times of day,” adds Green.


Being able to resolve potential problems before they occur is one of the areas where new types of predictive services will come into play. But this is only the beginning says Koskelin, as he outlines other questions customers are beginning to ask.

"Apartment buildings are locked for long periods of time. But as a resident, if you are expecting a package to be delivered, can you remotely open the door to a delivery driver, or give them access to a specific room in your house?” he says.

Thanks to the IBM partnership, KONE plans to encourage a vast developer ecosystem by opening Application Programming Interfaces (API’s) which means new applications can be built and different types of equipment and services can be connected – creating a smoother, safer and more personalized people flow experience for building users.

“A KONE business partner could develop an app for communities of users enabling people pre-order elevators during the busiest times of the day,” explains Green. “Restaurant staff could be alerted when there are large numbers of people heading their way enabling them to make provision for more diners. Building managers could optimize their action plans for evacuations during emergencies,” she adds.

This partnership is expected to transform KONE’s operations and technology capabilities over the next few years, which will improve the flow of urban life around the world.

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