Rise Of Elevator & Escalator Industry: What's In Store For 2021 Apart from the potential that the future holds, there are many developments in the making that will continue to see the elevator industry evolve

By Sebi Joseph

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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The introduction of the elevator safety brake nearly 170 years ago made living and working in tall buildings possible. With this, cities became the centrifugal force for progress and urbanization. When you look at studies related to India, it is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. The Oxford Economics' Global cities report estimates that 17 of the 20 fastest-growing cities in the world between 2019 and 2035 will be from India.

Studies have also shown that Indian cities are likely to contribute to 70 per cent of India's GDP by 2030. This growth means that as cities accommodate even more people, we will need more buildings and taller ones at that, as land in cities become scarce. This bodes well for the elevator industry, as it offers solutions to carry people safely, efficiently and responsibly through tall structures.

Apart from the potential that the future holds, there are many developments in the making that will continue to see the elevator industry evolve.

A global center for manufacturing

India's elevator and escalator factories have been supplying to neighboring countries such as Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, etc., in addition to customers in India.

As the country develops its talent pool, capabilities and expands speeds and capacities of equipment, India is poised to cater to the needs of other Asian markets as well. This should set the stage for India to become a manufacturer of elevators and escalators for the rest of the world.

Elevator looks

Elevator aesthetics are quickly gaining ground to customize one's look and appeal. Developers and architects are laying more emphasis on the interior of the elevator, appreciating a wider range of colors and finishes. This is even more so when they are trying to convey a sense of luxury about their project. Elevator and escalator companies are working on new ranges of elevator looks. While some offerings allow full customization, others are a range of set looks that consists of a pre-set palette of colors and textures, designed for those customers who want an interesting look but do not want to invest time in fully personalizing their elevator.

Thumbs up for going green

As the awareness for sustainable technology increases, the demand for environmentally friendly technology is also gathering steam. Often developers are looking to achieve "Green' certifications for their projects and the elevator industry can contribute towards this aim. Many of today's major elevator components can be used to help save energy. Independent solutions like variable frequency drives, standby modes are other examples of how the industry is providing solutions to create a sustainable future.

Service that is proactive

In addition to innovating, industry leaders continue to underscore the importance of proactive customer service and transparent communication. By using the power of Internet-of-Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI), these companies can detect potential issues and proactively inform a customer—sometimes even before an issue arises. Proactive customer service is all about the ability to anticipate a customer's issues or needs and address them before they grow.

Leading vertical transportation companies are also focusing on proactive approaches instead of reactive ones to service customers more efficiently. For example, some companies have predictive maintenance tools can connect to elevators and notify building owners and field professionals of a possible issue. This prepares field professionals with more knowledge when they arrive on-site to work on elevators. It also helps field professionals to come equipped with the right set of tools and parts needed to get the equipment up and running, thereby reducing downtime.

Comprehensive solutions packages with OEM manufacturers

More people are looking for increased convenience and peace of mind in every aspect of life. When it comes to choosing maintenance packages more people are turning to comprehensive maintenance packages whether it is their vehicle or elevator. Customers are realizing the benefits of partnering with OEM's (original equipment manufacturers) as it offers assurance of genuine spares and professional service. They are also choosing to sign up for full coverage maintenance packages, knowing that it offers value for money and that comprehensive coverage will leave repairs planned and/or sudden to the elevator company. Such partnerships with OEM, bring stability to service and frees customers from the hassles of getting into upkeep matters from time to time.

Modernizations and upgrades

Residential building owners are now turning to upgrades to help maintain or improve the ride quality and passenger experience of their elevators. Upgrades may often include cameras fitted into elevator cabins, energy saving VF drives, standby modes incorporated, folded seats in lift cars, auto-closing doors, aesthetics etc.

Old lifts can be modernized to offer a new lease of life, increasing efficiency, and ride quality. Modernization packages bring elevators in need of renovation, up-to-date with the latest technology in safety, comfort and environmental standards apart from enhancing the passenger experience. Flexibility in scheduling installation and phased payment terms help society members choose a plan that is most relevant to members in their residential societies. Modernization can employ a smart- retention program where reusable parts from the older system are retained in the new system. This further aids in minimal interference with the structural part of the building, reduces the downtime period and minimizes the inconvenience to residents.

Over the years to help make passenger movement more streamlined and efficient, facility managers are opting to retrofit destination management systems. These systems are especially useful in structures with multiple floors and multiple elevators. Instead of using standard two-directional call buttons, passengers enter their specific floor in the destination management console. The system assigns passengers traveling to nearby floors to the same car. This minimizes the number of stops per trip, reduces car crowding and decreases travel times.

Hygiene/remote servicing

Companies in the vertical transportation industry began to promote products, such as touchless technologies. In one example, companies began promoting mobile apps that paired with elevators to let passengers use their smartphones as their personal elevator call button and reduce a building's touchpoints.

As things began to return to normal, there is much left to be done within the Indian elevator and escalator industry. One of the larger focuses that will continue is towards strengthening local manufacturing and making factories here future ready for imports. I believe that elevator companies will continue down the path of developing more aesthetics for elevators.

Technology that can save energy and is environmentally responsible will be in focus as developers work towards obtaining green certificates for their projects. Lastly but not least the elevator industry will leverage technology to find solutions to problems both old and new. The runway for India's elevator industry is long and its potential is exciting. From here, I believe that it is only up and onwards.

Wavy Line
Sebi Joseph

Sebi Joseph, President - OTIS India

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