As some of you may have already heard, the Aritco HomeLift is the world’s first connected home lift. We decided to have a chat with Ardalan Rahimi Balov, who is responsible for the Aritco SmartLift app – the current version of which enables users to control the lift’s lighting and simplifies maintenance.
Why did you decide to enable the Aritco HomeLift to connect to the Internet?
There are a ton of reasons why we did this, but here are some of the most important ones. We think that the Aritco HomeLift will play a central role in the connected homes of the future, and the app will extend the lifetime of our products through the ability to update remotely. Internet connectivity is also important for both the user experience and quality assurance, since it enables us to predict maintenance needs based on information and to act proactively. It’s also a great way for us to gather information, and provides us with an opportunity to gain insight into customer usage patterns and to improve our future products.
What was the most challenging part of the project?
The most challenging part of the project was making a decision regarding what technology we were going to use and what functionality to implement. There are a lot of different competing technologies available, and since the Internet of Things (IoT) market is quite young, we were breaking a lot of new ground. We started the project with a huge requirements specification – I mean, we wanted the lift to do pretty much everything! But then we changed our strategy and implemented only the most essential functions in order to best meet consumer needs.
What was the most fun part of the project?
As I already mentioned, the fact that we were doing a lot of ground-breaking stuff. I mean, no one had ever done what we were doing before, so it has been and still is a really fun journey.
What are the key features of SmartLift?
SmartLift comes with two different applications; one for the homeowner and one for the installers/service technicians. For the homeowner, the main feature is the lighting control. This enables you to change the lighting colours and adjust the dim level, etc. You can also set up your own lighting schedules, such as having the light turn on every morning at 7 am. The app will also notify you when your home lift needs maintenance or repairs. The SmartLift app for service/installation simplifies the configuration of the lift and also makes service and maintenance much easier. Using the app, you can set parameters such as the fire drive floors, perform and register service, calibrate the lift and read error logs. This information tells our service personnel what parts they need to bring with them to the location, and helps them to be prepared and work more proactively.
How do you think the IoT will affect consumer behaviour going forward?
I think it will play a big role in consumer behaviour, starting with health and fitness wearable tech. Studies show that the IoT will have an impact on society ten times greater than that of the Internet. For instance, 70% of the world’s fresh water is used in agriculture, but sadly half of that usage constitutes overwatering. By using small sensors to only water fields when necessary, we could reduce global water consumption by 35%. Another example is traffic. Around 30% of the traffic in cities is cars looking for a place to park. What if an available parking space could inform the car where to go? Today’s cars are already connected, so this would only require an open parking system to manage the exchange of information. Such systems would create a more pleasant environment in our cities and help to reduce CO2 emissions.
What do you think the lift industry will look like in 20 years’ time?
I think we are moving towards a more service-based and integrated industry, which will open up entire new areas of possibility for our customers. Other industries are already starting to see the benefits of connected products and new business models – for example, one company is driving their business by reducing costs for clients through the provision of connected products that optimise electricity consumption. Their business model is really simple – they install the products for free and only take a commission percentage of the savings you make. I mean, who could resist that offer?!
What do you think will be the next trend after the IoT?
The IoT is often called the fourth wave of digitalization. We’ll have billions of devices providing us with all kinds of data, so I think the next natural step in the fifth wave will be to analyse the huge amounts of information. This is often referred to as big data – how will we interpret all this information, and how will we act on it?
What are your other favourite tech companies?
There are so many cool companies out there! But if I had to pick one I’d have to say that I’m a huge fan of Elon Musk and pretty much everything he’s doing. His Hyperloop project, which is essentially high-speed capsules flying through vacuum tubes, is particularly interesting.