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Arriving at the office in Sydney CBD, employees and their guests are greeted by Temi, a concierge robot who escorts them into the lift and to their desired destination. Meanwhile, the cleaning robot, Gaussian, is mopping up a coffee spill in the foyer, and visitors are calling a lift from the carpark using their mobile device and as they rush toward their morning meeting.
This is the building’s ecosystem at work, and it’s growing larger and smarter every day. Digital connectivity is bringing new intelligent and efficient solutions for everything from accessibility and parking, to entertainment and security.
The robotics industry has seen rapid growth within recent years, and is projected to skyrocket in value over the next five years as the demand for increased efficiency and the expectation for hyper-personalised service develops.
Ben Fowler, Modernisation Offering Manager at KONE, says people should expect to see more and more robots as they begin to integrate into our day-to-day lives. “We will all be living amongst robots in our everyday environments sooner than we might expect.
“The user-experience value in these robots is enormous. Robots are quickly becoming an important part of a smart building’s ecosystem, and with technology moving fast, it's important to embed our future buildings with these smart services now.”
The Temi robot has recently been deployed in KONE partner buildings to maximise user engagement and allow ease of movement throughout a building. Designed as a personal concierge robot, Temi welcomes guests, and acts as a walking - or rolling - directory, whereby users can navigate to their desired destination escorted by Temi.
As the focus on health and hygiene has been sharpened, so too has the demand for cleaning robots in urban spaces. The Gaussian robot, an industrial cleaning robot, enables automatic cleaning and disinfection functions, covering 700-800 square metres of floor per hour, effectively helping cleaners meet these higher cleaning standards and removing their exposure to viruses.
While these robots have previously been limited by lifts and stairs, KONE’s digitally connected DX elevator has resolved this contingency.
The KONE DX comes with digital connectivity built in, promising a new era of digitally enabled people flow, and unlimited possibilities for the building’s ecosystem.
“While previously someone would have to be around to transport a robot between floors, the KONE DX lifts are able to connect to these service robots via APIs, so that they can ‘talk’ to each other and move around facilities without a human chaperone,” says Ben Fowler.
Cleaning robots also present a world of opportunity for the future of the industrial cleaning industry, with robots like the Gaussian being able to tackle the physical and mundane tasks, enabling employees to repurpose their skills into more creative, innovative opportunities.
Fowler also highlights that the ‘wow’ factor of these robots is one of their major benefits.
“It’s always great to see people’s reactions to a robot entering the elevator on its own. Everyone is always so positively surprised and enthusiastic about it, which just adds to the excitement of the whole experience - a robot definitely adds a bit of character to a building”
Robots aren’t the only element of the ecosystem that is taking rapid steps thanks to digital connectivity. Jerome Audais, Managing Director of KONE Australia, explains how the growth of KONE’s API partner base facilitates a continuous flow of new offerings in buildings.
“It’s exciting to see the network of innovative solution providers growing with a common goal – to ensure smooth, safe people flow and the best possible user experience in buildings.
“Digital connectivity has allowed us to seamlessly integrate a whole range of new platforms and technologies, into a system that is fundamental to a high rise building, such as an elevator.”
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One example is BindiMaps, Australia’s leading guidance app for blind and visually impaired people, that is enabling blind and visually impaired people to navigate smoothly and safely through spaces with confidence. BindiMaps can be connected to the KONE DX through bluetooth beacons, allowing people to call a lift through their smartphone, providing audible directions, and make their journey from A to B as seamless as possible.
Connectivity also provides the freedom to develop your own smart building solutions, allowing you to further customize the elevator experience to meet the needs of your building and the people who use it.
Audais explains that, with many workplaces returning to their CBD offices, businesses are being forced to rethink the traditional office environment.
“As remote work has become an accepted option for many people and organisations, the traditional office-first model is transitioning into a more flexible, tailored concept.
“This is why it’s important to embrace ecosystem thinking - where building owners, operators, tenants, tech companies, service companies and more – all come together to co-create these solutions. Digital connectivity is a clear enabler for the future of office life,” says Audais.