An interview with Jose Antonio Canle, Head of SEMA Infrastructure and Escalator Business Hub, KONE. By Ross Falconer
It goes without saying that we are living in unprecedented times, with uncertainty as to how long the world will be dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“With this picture in mind, we have to show passengers and airport users that being at the airport will be perfectly safe for them,” says Jose Antonio Canle, Head of SEMA Infrastructure and Escalator Business Hub, KONE. “We should see this situation as a call for all aviation industry stakeholders to change our way of understanding this business.”
More important than ever is the need for all stakeholders to work together in what Canle describes as a “co-creation approach”. “We’ll need just one infected person at any airport to destroy passenger confidence and go back to the starting point. Our goal should be to create a ‘Health Safety Net’ around passengers and airport users, with each stakeholder contributing their best solutions and technology to ensure this is achieved.”
KONE has launched its new “Health & Well-Being Solutions”, which are designed to ensure a ‘Health Safety Net’ around airport users and travellers. “We know that one of the riskiest places to be, when we are talking about the possibility of being infected by the virus, is any closed area – for example, inside elevators,” Canle explains. “To avoid that risk, we have the KONE Elevator AirPurifier to ensure a cleaner air quality inside our elevators.”
Another risk factor is potentially-infected surfaces, and here too KONE has developed solutions. KONE Elevator Call reduces the need to touch elevator buttons, while KONE Handrail Sanitizer for escalators, autowalks and ramps uses a new ultra-violet, self-cleaning solution for thorough disinfection.
“We are really proud to say that our KONE Health & Well-Being Solutions have been well accepted by our customers and we have a significant number of elevators and escalators already equipped with these solutions, with very positive customer feedback,” says Canle. “We can also add that some of them are using our solutions as part of their marketing campaigns to restore customer confidence.”
Connectivity and digitalisation
All companies are focused on developing new services and solutions based on the connectivity and digitalisation of their products. “Thanks to 5G implementation we’ll soon see a dramatic change in how we understand any business,” Canle comments.
The KONE 24/7 Connected Services for airports were launched in 2018 and the company is in the process of connecting its elevators and escalators to the KONE Digital Platform. “This is giving us enormous visibility about the behaviour of our equipment, being able to predict any failure or misuse, and optimising the downtime of the elevators and escalators during maintenance,” says Canle. “Not only that, thanks to our KONE Digital Platform we have started to offer new services and solutions based on the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI). The opportunities that AI is giving us are unlimited. We are collaborating with our customers to define new solutions based on AI and are in the process of building our KONE Partner Ecosystem to collaborate with different accredited partners to meet new customer and end-user needs.”
Canle adds that this year KONE DX – the first fully-connected elevator – has been launched, and KONE is in a position to be able to apply Application Programming Interface (API) to help its products interact with external software components and operating systems. “With these solutions, we can say that KONE is already in that ‘co-creative stage’ working together with our customers and partners to define new solutions and services to match their new expectations. Our aim is to deliver ‘digital experiences’ to all our customers.”