Often the unsung heroes of the industry, the role of FM suppliers is one hidden from the spotlight. It is without a doubt however, an invaluable position that keeps the wheels greased and turning.
From the simple delivery of cleaning supplies, to the complex implementation of a CAFM system, suppliers provide the necessary ingredients that allow FM companies to serve their respective clientele.
One such supplier is KONE, a manufacturer of elevators and escalators, whose history in the industry dates back over a century. A reputable name in the realm of vertical transportation for high rises, the Finnish company has in more recent memory established itself in the access control market.
While the traditional focus in access control has been security, for the team at KONE, the current movement is towards enhancing the mobility of human traffic throughout the buildings. It is all about People Flow Intelligence (PFI).
“People Flow Intelligence is about access, destination, information and monitoring ... it is all about optimising the flow of people into the building,” explains Kim Långström, head of KONE People Flow Intelligence sales in major projects.
Bringing together concepts from access control, traffic calculation and vertical transportation, the system focuses on optimising the journey of end-users from the moment they enter a building, up until they reach their final destination.
Ideal for office environments, residential high-rises and to a certain extent the hospitality industry, the starting point typically begins from the access gate. In KONE’s case, this would comprise one of its many turnstiles products.
Accessed with pre-programmed cards, KONE’s turnstiles direct users to their assigned lifts, clumping people together in order to optimise their travel time to their destination. The system is typically automated, though manually operation can be conducted from a central monitoring station.
Of course there is still an element of security as each user is restricted to their assigned work floors. Even the temporary badges provided to visitors can be deactivated, should the person leave the premises without returning the access card.
While PFI is quickly gaining traction within the market, particularly with its incorporation into the lobby plans of the Kingdom Towers project in Saudi Arabia, its deployment into existing structures is proving to be a challenging endeavour.
“A big part of our business in this region lies with the modernisation of buildings and that is quite challenging,” shares Långström.
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