Finnish companies give elevators a voice with Machine Conversations

Listening to machines chat is an "addictive experience and strangely compelling," says creative agency Hasan & partners.

A Helsinki-based marketing communications agency has helped to give elevators a voice, so people can hear them chat to each other in real time.

Hasan & partners worked with engineering specialist and fellow Helsinki firm, KONE, to connect selected elevators in different countries around the world.

The elevators have their operational data translated into English so they can converse continuously with KONE’s cloud network using IBM’s Watson IoT platform.

The elevators send data from sensors and controls about their day-to-day performance. That information is collected and processed, sent to the cloud and given a voice. Ultimately, if a fault is detected, a technician can be dispatched with the right parts to fix the problem, before anything occurs.

The real-time chat can be heard at the Machine Conversations website, created by hasan & partners, where visitors can select an elevator and tune in to the discussion with KONE Cloud.

Machine Conversations is a way to show people exactly what Internet-connected elevators would say, if they could be heard. It has been produced to support KONE’s 24/7 Connected Services, which brings intelligent services to elevators and escalators.

Predictability and responsiveness are vital for maintenance. In hot countries, an elevator may experience a rise in temperature, and data relating to this could be misinterpreted as mechanical overheating.

Machine Conversations lets people hear how an elevator can tell the KONE Cloud: “I’m running slightly hot, temperature at 28 degrees”, with Watson’s algorithms reviewing the data to decide whether action is required. The humanized response might be along the lines of: “you’re five degrees above average, but it’s a hot day outside, you’re ok”.

A typical elevator conversation might continue: “Slightly off on landing at floor six”; or “Idle on floor zero. Perfect temperature at 22.6”; “Slightly elevated door noise”. Replies from the KONE Cloud might be: “I’m monitoring that, still normal. Keep going”.

Max Alfthan, executive VP, marketing and communications at KONE, said: “Hasan & partners’ campaign brings a human touch to simplify a complex topic and is a perfect example of working together to combine creativity and technology.

“Machine Conversations is an innovative way to promote our 24/7 Connected Services. Watson’s cognitive capabilities will help us take elevator and escalator services to a new level identifying issues before they occur.”

Tobias Wacker, creative director at hasan & partners, said: “Machine Conversations is creativity with a purpose, where we’ve leveraged Internet of Things technologies and the power of IBM Watson IoT to show how problems can be detected before they happen.

“We wanted to give the elevators and the cloud realistic voices, now we see and hear them in action it is an addictive experience and strangely compelling.”



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