KONE Hackathon on IoT, Smart Elevators, Smart Lights and BlueMix Cloud

I have used elevators countless times in my life so far and we all use it multiple times every day. Have you ever thought about how elevators can react in smarter way, does an elevator knows who you are and personalize it for you? I think most of us (including me) have never thought about this (before this hacking event, that I attended) but, trust me there are companies like KONE and many smart people who work there are challenging themselves and pushing hard to make elevator smart.

What exactly KONE is developing?

KONE is building APIs to control, manage and maintain elevators. KONE's APIs are collecting data from various elevators installed in buildings, these APIs are backbone or I can say brain of KONE’s smart elevators. Once data is collected, possibility of harnessing valuable information from that data is endless. Example:

Feed collected data to analytics tools to optimize elevator operation, usage etc.
Apply Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to give a smart brain to elevators
Also, KONE is looking forward for better and smarter ways to flow people in building not just in elevators and for this KONE's teams are working with other partners (Philips Smart Lighting and IBM Cloud team).

Okay, that was about smart elevators. Have you thought about how lights can be smart? Most of us till recent past knew that lights/bulbs are just illuminating devices that we can control using hardware on/off switch. Recently we got introduced to few newer ways to control lights using WiFi switches, mobile apps, voice commands/NLP (using Alexa, Google home) etc. but, teams at Philips Lighting are doing great job in reimagining how lights can be more smarter and use them beyond just lighting rooms and spaces.

What exactly Philips Lighting’s team is developing?

How about if a light/bulb is like a tiny computer which is connect to WiFi/Network and it has sensors (temperature, motion, proximity etc.) attached to it that can be controlled using APIs...sounds crazy right? This is exactly what teams at Philips Lighting are working on and these are called as Smart Lights. Lights are everywhere in living room, meeting room, corridor, elevators and even in open space. Since these smart lights are connected to network and are capable to sensing critical information/data these lights can help build solution that can change the way we look at lights.

Identify vacant meeting room based on data captured from sensors installed in light
Guide a user from point A in building to point B by incrementally illuminating lights one after another
Adjust light level using data collected via sensors and more…
Please watch this video for quick overview https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fmii9BNgixI

And, finally have you thought of how smart elevators and smart lights together can deliver a personalized user experience? This where IBM (Cloud, IoT and Watson) teams are helping elevator and light industry to revolutionize the whole game by leveraging offerings like Cloud Computing, Cognitive APIs and AI capabilities.

I have no direct relation to either elevator or lighting industry then why I am talking about elevators and lights?

Recently I got an opportunity to participate in a Technology Hackathon organized by KONE where they invited their tech partners Philips Lightings, IBM and developers, designers’ innovators. This 2-day hackathon was focused on leveraging APIs from KONE, Philips Lightings and IBM’s cloud capabilities to think about solutions that can improve our daily life in elevates, offices or at any other place.

I presented an idea that was focused on:

Provide personalized user experienced in large space where every single device (such as elevators) or area (such as hotel rooms) knows who you are using state of art integration of Smart Elevator, Lighting and IBM Watson APIs
No manual interaction with devices or spaces in building
Allow users to create preferences (light ambiance, desk location etc.) and save it in a mobile app. Use these preferences to deliver personalized experience e.g. once user enters a building, lights will guide them to desk, set their preferred ambiance in office room etc. If their desk is changed in future, new place will be adjusted for the user
Provide real time analytics about areas and people (such as age and gender) and perform optimization by capturing people flow in various areas in building
The idea is, every device in building will recognize who the user is, where they are headed to and what are their preferences. This information will be stored as shareable profile and no matters where they go in world based on their profile preferences; allocate room/space in building everything i.e. elevators, lights and other devices will be personalized.

This idea can be applied to any space (offices, buildings, airports etc.). For hackathon, I used hotel industry for implementation. This is how it works for hotel industry:

A user check-in to hotel by scanning a QR code (we had only 3 iBeacon during Hackathon else we wanted to remove QR code from picture so that user don’t even need to scan anything).
Once user do check-in to hotel, a room will be assigned to them based on their booking
As soon as user reaches elevator area/lobby based on which floor his assigned room is, KONE’s elevator API will be called to request an elevator for him. Important thing to note here is, user don’t have push a button to call an elevator because there is an iBeacon in elevator area and apps knows user has floor on a specific floor and makes a call on behalf of user using KONE API
Once user is in elevator user can set his light preferences (using Philips Lighting APIs) in room before he reaches in room
Once elevator is open, Philips Lighting will guide user to his room by incrementally illuminating lights in the direction where his room is
Once user reaches close to his assigned room, he can unlock room using mobile app (again we used iBeacon here)
Periodically and based on sensor triggers capture images in various hotel areas and send those images to IBM Watson’s visual recognition APIs which will analyze captured images and send back information like number of people, age, gender etc. and this information can be used for analytics purposes and optimization of user experience
So, as you can see right from hotel check-in to his room user don’t have to press button for elevator, he is guided to his assigned room and his lights are set before he arrives in room.

I am adding some pictures of mobile application and links to hackathon event:


I hope after reading this whenever you'll see an elevator or light you'll think about how it can be personalized.

To all hacker out there...Happy Hacking!!

All Company Names, Branding, Logo and other information used in this article are owned by respective companies and organization.


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