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The advance of IoT in the lift industry

With the world becoming ever ‘smarter’, technology in all areas of everyday life needs to keep up – including lifts. Matt Miller, Commercial & Mechanical Research Manager at ILE, explores the potential of a number of advancing areas of technology in the lift industry.
Man Using Phone While At His Desk

Consumer vs Business Technology

It’s safe to say that the internet has had a profound effect on our world. The explosion of data continues, and people are consuming technology faster than ever. Within the last ten years, the Internet of Things has entered our homes, with smart technology becoming the norm – smart radiators, TVs, fridges and speakers are all mainstream products. Once these tech advancements are adopted within the home, the expectation quickly grows of industry following suit. If citizens can complete a task at home in a more efficient, tech-led way, then why can’t they do the same in the workplace?

The potential of smart lifts

IoT powered smart lifts are taking their place and growing in their offerings and achievements. IoT is limitless, and it’s exciting to embrace new technology and see how it can transfer to lift operation and management. The goal is always efficiency, and predictive maintenance ticks this box nicely. Remote monitoring is growing in popularity, providing an overview of the lift systems and potential issues that can be solved before they appear. This leads on to components self-monitoring and reporting – for example, knowing that they have 100,000 cycles before they need to be replaced and alerting when they near the limit. Almost like a service alert in a car that reminds you of a required annual check, it’s a great example of home-life tech transferring to industry for major efficiency benefit – reducing maintenance inspections and the associated time and cost.

Advancing an aging industry

Whilst the lift industry may be seen as fairly old fashioned, here at ILE we work to drive innovation, adopting new technology to increase our offering and sit at the cutting edge. We always look to improve our customers’ experience and enhance our products, embracing new technology such as augmented reality. Using these apps makes life easier when inspecting, giving greater visibility of controllers and other equipment. We’ve seen the benefits of using apps in general, increasing the speed and quality of communication, collaboration and connection. Simple apps like WhatsApp can provide an instant photo-sharing mechanism that may have previously taken a camera, trip to a computer, upload and email!

Technology is allowing much work to move away from working directly in front of the panel, with improved connectivity and hand held devices allowing engineers to make adjustments from anywhere. Short range Bluetooth is also having a benefit to the industry, allowing a connection to the machine’s drive and facilitating machine-to-machine communication.

Looking to the future

There is a great deal of scope for technology advancements within the lift industry that are only just starting to be realised. Potential for the four walls to be used as advertising space – and targeted advertising – using a cloud-based system and remote connectivity to display different adverts at various times in the day to appeal to different users, with a smart speaker installed for the complete experience. Additionally, these walls could be used to display maintenance alerts, quickly changed to inform of fire alarm testing or details of the latest charity fundraiser.

Remote monitoring

For over fifty years, ALGI have been producing cylinders for hydraulic lift systems. We have now partnered with them to provide remote monitoring for these hydraulic systems. We can now offer installation, set up and monitoring, problem solving an older element of lift manufacture. If you can get an internet connection into a motor room, the possibilities seem to be endless for advancing tech, even on older lift design and equipment.

The pace of innovation

The lifts of tomorrow will continue to modernise dramatically as people continue to desire and consume increasing amounts of data. The drive towards predictive maintenance will only grow, with remote monitoring and self-reporting allowing faults to be identified and resolved automatically. Intelligent systems will automate alerts and reports, and with high-powered, evolving tech in our pockets, the development within industry will continue at a similar pace. However, there will be a balance to maintenance for a long time yet, as lifts are still driven by the quality of their initial install and engineers will still need the skills to safely and effectively repair them, even if manual inspections decrease. Engineers will need to retain existing skills, but enhance their knowledge to encompass smart technology and work alongside it.

Ensuring a solid foundation to build on

An excellent basic foundation will continue to be crucial, and a lift should always have a good mechanical install, good electrical supply and a solid earthing, as well as being a great product in the first place! The add-ons then become the icing on the cake, with IoT enhancing both user experience and management. At ILE, we develop all our software inhouse, which allows us to trial, test, fail fast and improve quickly. Being a small team allows us to try ideas inhouse, to collect customer feedback, transform this into ideas and then transfer our good ideas into reality, getting to test stage quickly.

As the ‘smart’ world ceases to slow down, it’s vital that every area of industry keeps pace, including the lift industry. With so much potential for innovation, here at ILE, we’re excited about seeing the developments in the coming months and years.

Your partner in innovation

Here at ILE, we are committed to innovation and harnessing the right technology solutions to create lift systems that make our customers’ businesses smarter, better, and more efficient. To discuss your specific needs or areas of interest, contact us today on 0208 527 9669.

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