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Construction : Viewpoint | October 2015 | Source : CW-India

An Elevated Experience

Smart people-flow experiences are intrinsic to efficient and smart cities, says NEERAJ SHARMA.

Experts predict the world´s urban population will double by 2050, which means we are adding the equivalent of seven New Delhi cities to the planet every single year. This is why cities are called engines of economic growth. And ensuring they function as efficient engines is critical to our economic development.

Smart cities
In fact, 90 per cent of the world´s urban population growth will take place in developing countries, with India taking a significant share. With an urban population of 31 per cent, India is at a point of transition where the pace of urbanisation will speed up. Thus, we need to plan our urban areas well and cannot wait any longer to do so.

People migrate to cities primarily for employment. To support happy and comfortable living, they also need good quality housing and cost-efficient physical and social infrastructure such as water, sanitation, electricity, clean air, education, healthcare, security and entertainment. It is in this context that the Government of India has decided to develop 100 smart cities in the country.

People-flow solutions
We, at KONE, actively participate in this process by creating the best people-flow experience in complex systems. Planning people-flow solutions for densely populated urban environments requires skill and expertise and that´s where our talented teams come into the picture. From decongesting a crowded city like Mumbai to improving the quality of life in a smart city of Gujarat state, our work is integral to the process of urbanisation.

New trends are beginning to emerge across countries in the Asia-Pacific region. They are dictated by demographic changes, which influence our work in a big way. For example, the rise of a well-travelled young workforce in several parts of Asia has led to a change in living standards and set the tone for comfort. Luxurious skyscrapers, swanky malls and efficient metros are now intrinsic to these rapidly urbanising cityscapes.

That´s good news for us, as it helps us broaden our horizons and be part of the urbanisation story, which holds potential for economic growth and overall development. The real challenge before the government is to build inclusive smart cities for all its residents, irrespective of whether they are rich or poor. In a country like India, the process of making a city smart should be people-centric. The idea should be to make cities work for a person, which is where KONE will play a key role in delivering smart people-flow experiences.

Sustainability and innovation
As an environmental-friendly organisation, KONE needs to provide both energy-efficient and cost-efficient solutions that help reduce adverse environmental impact. When we set targets to reduce the energy consumption of our elevators, we ensure that we create a robust roadmap to achieve the same. We have been making significant reductions in energy consumption and our elevators are up to 75 per cent more energy-efficient compared to our earlier offerings. This is one of the key parameters to create sustainable urban buildings, thus reducing the negative impact on human health and the environment.

It is not enough to create solutions for new buildings; we also need to focus on existing buildings that need maintenance and modernisation. Our R&D constantly strives to create solutions using innovative technology that helps produce elevators with energy regeneration. Our new approaches help our customers cut their energy consumption and carbon footprint. We believe in supporting our customers in achieving their eco-efficiency goals in every phase of their building´s lifecycle - from designing and constructing buildings to maintaining and modernising them.

We have always been the leader when it comes to technology innovation. It started with the KONE Eco Disc in the 1990s, where the braking system reduces power consumption by 75 per cent and has continued steadily to our recent KONE Ultra Rope that cuts energy consumption of a 500 m elevator ride by 15 per cent. Our suppliers also form an integral part of the sustainability chain and we work with them to reduce our carbon footprint and improve energy and material efficiency. It is important that they comply with environmental laws and support us in reducing harmful environmental impact. This combined responsibility helps us meet our customer expectations.

Indeed, our aim has been and will always be to support the ongoing transformation of the built environment into smart eco-cities, low-carbon communities and net-zero energy buildings by providing smart people-flow solutions!

About the author:
Neeraj Sharma, Executive Vice President, Asia-Pacific and Middle East, KONE Corporation, has served as Managing Director of KONE India from 2009 to 2014. He stands with an enriched experience of over 30 years in industrial engineering.

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