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AT&T gets a lift with KONE predictive maintenance deal in US, Canada, Mexico

Lift maker KONE has selected AT&T to connect it elevators and escalators in North America in order to gather data, enable predictive maintenance, and improve safety and performance.

AT&T said it had been chosen to provide internet-of-things (IoT) “connectivity and service management”. The pair will make “thousands” of elevators and escalators smarter across the US, Canada and Mexico using “IoT connectivity”, they said.

It is unclear whether AT&T will support all of KONE’s assets in the field with its own low-power wide-area (LPWA) network, in the form of LTE-M connectivity, and NB-IoT network later, or it will draw from a broader connectivity set on a case-by-case basis.

KONE monitors parameters such as speed, weight, vibration, temperature, frequency of use and much more. AT&T is providing the means to transmit its data in “real time” to IBM’s cloud, where it is analysed by IBM’s Watson IoT platform to help identify and predict faults before they happen.

The idea is to keep equipment up and running, and to improve people flow, said AT&T.

KONE’s customers, comprising building owners and facilities managers, have access to an online dashboard to track their equipment, and KONE technicians receive alerts when equipment has an issue – “so they can perform proactive, even predictive maintenance”.

Larry Wash, executive vice president for KONE in the Americas regions, said: “Reliable connectivity is an essential element for powering KONE 24/7 Connected Services and for driving our smart buildings strategy.

“Our solution enables real-time data to predict, maintain and act before a breakdown occurs, creating a better customer experience. With AT&T, we can easily implement and scale KONE 24/7 Connected Services for our elevators and escalators and those we service across North America.”

Chris Penrose, president of IoT solutions at AT&T, said: “Escalators and elevators are often something that we take for granted – until they aren’t working. As they transport millions of passengers each day, just one broken-down elevator can cause bottlenecks in buildings, which can be frustrating and inconvenient.

“KONE is showing how a manufacturing and services company can use IoT solutions to help put customers first and improve insights into the condition of elevators and escalators.”

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