Virtual Building Service is a new digital simulation package from EIT Digital, the open innovation organisation, which aims to optimise people flow and building occupancy.
Developed by the company as part of its Digital Industry Action Line, the programme is designed to help developers, owners and architects strike the right balance between higher occupancy rates and better user experiences.
KONE and IBM are partners in the initiative, with the former acting both as business owner and activity leader.
The simulator is a new feature that enhances KONE’s People Flow consultancy and planning service. Simulation data will be collected in real time by sensors or, in the case of a new facility, from previous studies and knowledge gathering.
Outlining the scope of Virtual Building Service, KONE’s head of people flow optimisation, Juha-Matti Kuusinen, said: “Our simulation capability is now much improved. We can, for example, simulate people flow in the lobby of an office building and understand how that might look along with the waiting times for the elevators. And we can judge if the building is performing very well or if there’s room for improvement.”
Traditionally KONE, one of the largest elevator and escalator manufacturers in the world, has focused on vertical efficiency, or people moving from floor to floor.
“We realised, however, that if you don’t design end-to-end people flow, including the horizontal people flow, it is difficult for our customers to judge whether their buildings are really efficient,” said Kuusinen. “This is why we started to explore the optimisation of the total people flow, combining both the horizontal and vertical dimensions.”
EIT Digital says its new simulation capability will develop over time. “The goal for 2018 is to add new features to the simulator for people flow planning and consulting.
“Later on, the simulator will be connected to sensors providing real-time data about the building’s condition, therefore creating a proper ‘digital twin’ against which to compare the real-life version. This will allow KONE to test new services that will be offered across the building’s lifecycle.”