Bengaluru: Can you call an elevator to go to a particular floor with a WhatsApp message? “Yes”, said Amit Gossain, Managing Director, Kone Elevator India, the Indian subsidiary of Finnish elevator major, stressing that the demand for housing will result in more demand for elevators in India. Thanks to coronavirus fear, people are hesitant to touch common surfaces like lift buttons, switches and others. And with the lifting of lockdown and people going back to office, the reluctance is even more.
Here is where this feature using the ubiquitous messaging service comes in handy. Talking to IANS, Gossain said: “The elevator remote call feature uses WhatsApp for this. Our technology enables a person to call an elevator by sending a WhatsApp message to a specific number.”
Explaining the feature, an official said it is a cloud-based technology. A person wanting to use the elevator has to call first a specific mobile number allotted to the elevator. The caller’s number then gets registered. Then, he or she has to key in the floor number where they want the elevator and then key in their floor destination.
According to the official, overseas, a person has to make a call to call the elevator. But in India as WhatsApp is very popular, the messaging facility has been introduced. Gossain said Kone has also introduced a new elevator air purifier to improve air quality inside the elevator by removing pollutants like bacteria, viruses, dust and odour. Another technology launched by Kone Elevator India for its escalators is the handrail sanitiser using a type of ultraviolet light as disinfectant.
Queried about the Covid-19 impact on the industry, Gossain said there will be fall in demand this year. “Last year the elevator industry size in India was between 52,000-55,000 units. This year the numbers will fall,” he said. Queried about the slowdown in the real estate – commercial and residential- and the expected fall in footfalls in malls at least in the near future, Gossain said: “In India, the demand in the residential real estate will continue to grow which in turn will lift up the demand for elevators.”
He said with work from home gaining ground, the elevator design is also expected to change.