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Elevate Tech: Transforming elevator maintenance through predictive technology on Google Cloud

About Elevate Tech

Elevate Tech is on a mission to transform predictive maintenance for elevators by selling data intelligence rather than hardware. Its IoT solution delivered on a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model protects elevators from breakdowns with AI algorithms at low cost and minimum hassle. Since launching in 2019, the startup with three founders has monitored 10 million elevator rides.

Industries: Technology
Location: Singapore

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Elevate Tech first deployed their AI solution in two months, enabled 8x fault reduction for a client, removed 75% hardware parts for 50% cost savings, and developed green innovation with Google Cloud.

Google Cloud results

  • Validates business model with 10 million elevator rides monitored in one year
  • Enhances customer satisfaction by slashing installation time from 30 minutes to just one minute
  • Supports green ethos by helping Elevate Tech avert up to 30% of greenhouse gases

Enables 50% reduction in hardware costs and 75% reduction in components

Elisha Graves Otis invented the first elevator able to safely transport passengers in 1852, paving the way for people to live on the upper floors of tall buildings. These machines are now indispensable in helping people and items easily navigate the commercial and residential properties that compose the world’s cities, towns, and other settlements.

More than 150 years later, Elevate Tech is on a mission to modernize predictive maintenance, an established technique that determines when components are likely to fail and fixing or replacing them beforehand. Elevate Tech has developed cloud-based “as a service” products that use sensors and software to capture data for analysis to determine when a maintenance task should be scheduled.

"With just a small range of Google Cloud features, we were able to launch within two months. A year later we've monitored more than 10 million elevator rides. It wouldn't have been possible without Firebase and Cloud Functions, which enabled us to start creating without thinking about infrastructure."

Dean Reinhard, co-founder, Elevate Tech

Once Elevate Tech installs its pre-configured sensors in a customer’s elevators, a process the company says takes less than one minute per device, the devices immediately begin communicating with the cloud and providing insights.

Elevate Tech’s products include insight as a service, which provides alerts and notifications, with a support team available to analyze issues; a dashboard that provides detailed utilization and performance statistics and delivers predictions of upcoming issues; and weekly reports that help reduce cost and passenger wait times.

The business also offers a predictive maintenance API that allows companies to use Elevate Tech’s intelligence platform with their own sensors and a white label dashboard that can be customized to customers’ needs.

The speed and simplicity of its planned offering prompted Elevate Tech’s founders to set a two-month timeframe from concept to installation of first working prototypes. The business needed an agile, dynamic, and easy-to-use infrastructure to develop apps and create an Internet of Things deployment to manage its sensor-based product set. Elevate Tech turned to Google Cloud to meet its needs. "With just a small range of Google Cloud features, we were able to launch within two months. A year later we've monitored more than 10 million elevator rides. It wouldn't have been possible without Firebase and Cloud Functions, which enabled us to start creating without thinking about infrastructure. We rely on IoT Core to communicate with sensors and BigQuery ML to crunch the data," says Dean Reinhard, co-founder at Elevate Tech.

"Firebase lets us quickly do everything we need to do, on its easy-to-use dashboard, and with unlimited scale. With Firebase and Cloud functions, we just push out code and it works."

Dean Reinhard, co-founder, Elevate Tech

Maximizing IoT and machine learning performance on minimalist architecture

For a platform that optimizes heavy machinery, Elevate Tech itself operates on a minimalist architecture. It has no physical servers, and the only hardware it deploys are proprietary sensors. Everything else sits in the cloud.

The team believed from the start that a lightweight infrastructure was the way to gain the nimble development (and cost and operational efficiencies) needed to build a solution quickly. The lean architecture is also central to Elevate Tech's philosophy of reducing environmental impact.

From his experience working with different cloud providers, Dean felt Google Cloud, specifically Firebase, offered a promising solution for his team's minimalist vision. “By making app development easy with an intuitive dashboard, Firebase lets us quickly do everything we need to do, on its easy-to-use dashboard, and with unlimited scale. With Firebase and Cloud functions, we just push out code and it works," added Dean. Elevate Tech relied on Firebase to build quickly at scale.

Cloud Functions complemented Firebase as a key player in Elevate Tech's toolkit. Its built-in machine learning capabilities, for example, enabled Elevate Tech to instantly analyze data feeds ingested from IoT Core, providing its clients with real-time device intelligence. This includes sending out alerts via email or mobile text messaging when issues occur.

"Because we have such an easy way of ingesting and crunching data with Google Cloud, we're able to make do with much lighter hardware than a year ago. We found we were processing data so well on Cloud Functions, for example, that we didn't need five out of six sensors we were initially running."

Dean Reinhard, co-founder, Elevate Tech

Providing a global property giant predictive maintenance capability

Elevate Tech’s innovative model soon caught the attention of property and facility management company C&W Services, an entity of Cushman & Wakefield which is a global commercial real estate services firm. As one of Singapore’s largest independent lift-servicing companies, C&W Services found that Elevate Tech’s pre-configured sensors could deliver performance statistics and predict impending issues to complement the maintenance services they perform. This has enabled C&W Services to provide an innovative and differentiated service to its clients while reducing breakdowns and improving uptime.

Elevate Tech was able to do this on the back of its own KPIs deploying Google Cloud services. For instance, the startup won major cost and operational gains by progressively removing components from its installation hardware.

"Because we have such an easy way of ingesting and crunching data with Google Cloud, we're able to make do with much lighter hardware than a year ago," says Dean. "We found we were processing data so well on Cloud Functions, for example, that we didn't need five out of six sensors we were initially running."

Elevate Tech has been able to remove 75% of components from its IoT equipment, yielding at least 50% savings in hardware costs. Hardware installation time has consequently gone down from a half-hour to one minute. Fewer parts also translate into better reliability as there are fewer chances of equipment failing.

Elevate dashboard

Thinking green with IoT innovations that improve energy efficiency

Elevate Tech's mission is underpinned by a commitment to sustainability. The ethos finds expression in Dean's non-profit project MeshMinds (partnered with the UN Environment Program), which promotes tech-driven art for green causes. Elevate Tech brings the same ecological vision to energy-efficient solutions.

One such solution is an IoT-driven rethink of an old elevator conundrum. What floor should an elevator return to when idle (defined as inactive for several minutes)? Most commonly the settings are decided when a lift is installed, without analysis of user behavior, and never changed throughout the elevator’s lifespan.

Dean believes there's a better answer. He says that taking no account of the peaks and troughs of human activity in a building leads to inefficiencies. For example, a company's nerve center might be the fifth floor in a 12-story building. Or perhaps, people based on certain floors of a building frequently work late hours. Elevators going up and down with nobody inside wastes energy and causes unnecessary delays. By processing what every elevator does in real time using Google Cloud IoT and data tools, Elevate Tech is able to optimize where each elevator goes, and when.

As a result, Elevate Tech has provided optimizations that allow for a reduction of customers annual carbon footprint by up to 30%. Moreover, the energy-saving solution continuously updates based on traffic fluctuations caused by seasonal, business cycle, and other factors.

Speaking about the challenges brought on by COVID-19, Dean says, "In a situation like this, work patterns are upended. More than ever, it’s important to save costs where possible, and if there’s also an opportunity to reduce carbon emissions at the same time, all the more reason to do it. Google Cloud tools are helping us develop impactful solutions, on the fly, for shifting environments."

User holding tablet with Elevate software results on screen

Driving growth with an API-driven solution powered by Google Cloud

While COVID-19 means that hardware supply chains globally have been slowed, Elevate Tech’s team is not letting the situation slow down its evolution. It’s developing a strategy to move away from reliance on hardware altogether, to be an entirely API-driven platform powered by Google Cloud.

Elevate Tech is currently converting its intelligence into a system that can be licensed to anybody in the world, even others in the same field. Dean explains, "If someone has their own hardware and they want to run it on our software, they can do that. The data comes into our system, and we push out the intelligence."

By scaling globally, Elevate Tech can keep improving, as the more data it has, the better it gets at solving the customer’s challenges. To fuel the evolution, it is looking to incorporate Google Cloud AI tools such as TensorFlow Enterprise and experiment with Google Cloud AI products in Preview.

"We're eager to experience new Google Cloud AI features, because they just might lead to some unexpected breakthrough," says Dean. "Having access to products in Preview is huge for us. And we like how the Google Cloud team is open to feedback. It's a two-way collaborative street in which creative possibilities are endless."

Tell us your challenge. We're here to help.

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About Elevate Tech

Elevate Tech is on a mission to transform predictive maintenance for elevators by selling data intelligence rather than hardware. Its IoT solution delivered on a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model protects elevators from breakdowns with AI algorithms at low cost and minimum hassle. Since launching in 2019, the startup with three founders has monitored 10 million elevator rides.

Industries: Technology
Location: Singapore