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November 2018
Interview

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Chris SmithEMAIL 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.



Otis Elevators on IoT and Smart Buildings

How Technology Is Changing the Way We Move.

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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 problem.

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 3˝ 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:

Reliable Controls 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, like: 

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?

Smith:  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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