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Keeping people on the move

KONE Corporation
Helping people get where they need to go more efficiently and more sustainably lies at the heart of the industry-leading elevators, escalators, and modernisation services offered by KONE. The company is now pioneering the next step in its concept of People Flow™ with the KONE Destination Concept.

Imagine arriving in an unfamiliar crowded citycentre building. You don’t know how to get to where you want to go, you don’t know which areas are public and which ones private, and if you can find an information desk there’s already a queue of other people with the same problem. You’re stuck – and being stuck can easily raise anyone’s stress levels and ruin even the best-laid plans.

The KONE Destination Concept card knows which areas users have access to and can provide them with quick, efficient, and safe routes to where they want to go.
Helping people get where they need to go more efficiently and more sustainably lies at the heart of KONE’s mission.
Visitors like this can be a major headache for building managers as well, faced with the need to improve the way their buildings handle large numbers of people, many of whom are often in a rush. People need to know where they are, where they are going, and how they can get there, and this can be made much easier if the environment is aware of where they are, what they need, and how it can react.

A new solution

A new solution being developed by KONE – based on a technical prototype produced in a project carried out with partners including the Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Science, Hansaprint, Enfucell, and Sensor Center – could soon make situations like these a thing of the past, however. Known as the KONE Destination Concept, this was piloted at the Finnish pavilion at the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai.

The vision behind the KONE Destination Concept is to help people navigate unfamiliar or crowded surroundings thanks to a set of unique destination options based on their access rights and personalised information all contained in a special RFID tag. At the World Expo pavilion, for example, visitors approaching an elevator were able to use their personal destination card to indicate which area they would like to visit. The information provided by the card was used to bring a lift to pick them up and deliver them to their selected destination.

The card at the heart of the KONE Destination Concept incorporates an e-paper display, an RFID chip, and an ultra-thin environmentally friendly battery. As all of these components consume very little energy, the card can last for several years.

This technology could easily be used to create a solution for updating air travellers on their flight details, how to find their gate, and when boarding has started, for example. Shopping centres, cruise ships, and sports stadiums are among other locations that could also benefit.

KONE has an impressive track record in developing new technologies for optimising total lifetime costs and achieving significant energy savings.

101 this year

KONE has been involved in businesses as varied as textile manufacturing, medical technology and the design of hydraulic piping systems over its 101-year history, but its main focus has always been the elevator and escalator business. Employing around 34,000 people worldwide, KONE is one of the global leaders in the industry today, with around a quarter of a million customers, a presence in some 50 countries worldwide, seven production units, and seven global R&D centres.

Innovation has long been a key priority for KONE, in areas such as optimising total lifetime costs, achieving significant energy savings, and delivering more sustainable solutions. Examples of its impressive track record include the invention of the machine-room-less elevator, the introduction of counterweight-less elevators, the launch of the first double-deck elevators featuring KONE’s Destination Control System, and the introduction of the world’s first autowalk that can be installed without a pit.

People Flow™

Over half of the world’s population live in cities and other urban areas today, and the world is already home to more than 20 ‘megacities’ with populations of more than 10 million. Larger and large cities inevitably bring problems, such as overcrowding and growing pressure on the environment.

Which is why KONE’s focus is very much on innovative solutions that can make it easier for people to move around in the buildings that form the heart of modern cities – what KONE describes as People Flow™.

Optimising People Flow™ can most easily be done when architects, consultants, and construction companies are planning the systems for a project. KONE experts can help ensure that elevators, escalators, and autowalks, for example, are located in a way that will minimise queues forming. KONE can also ensure that things continue to run smoothly through things like proactive maintenance and modernisation.

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the company’s founding in 1901, KONE organised its first People Flow Day in October 2010. This saw around 800 KONE employees visit hotels, offices, medical facilities, public transport locations, residential buildings, and retail units to meet users and get a hands-on feel for typical usage and people’s expectations. Over 125 buildings at more than 70 locations were visited as part of the day, and more than 125 customers interviewed.

> Simon Barrette
(Published in HighTech Finland 2011)