A Swiftly Changing Landscape

A cool infographic by Raconteur accompanies Desjardins’ article posted on VisualCapitalist.com. You can check out a high-resolution version of the visual element through a link in the story.

In a fascinating peek into the not-so-distant future, Jeff Desjardins, writing on the website Visual Capitalist, takes a by-the-numbers look at how technology is fueling a swiftly shifting media landscape. When, and how, we get information has changed dramatically in just a few years, and if trends count for anything, bigger changes are ahead. As Desjardins puts it:

“Over your lifetime, the consumption of media and entertainment has already changed drastically.
“For Boomers and Gen Xers, the shift has been earth-shattering. Both generations will remember a time before mainstream computing when TV was dominated by the Big Three TV networks (NBC, ABC, and CBS), and newspapers and magazines were the main way to stay in touch with what was happening.
“Even millennials have seen fundamental shifts in consumption of media. After all, they experienced the rise of social media, online news, streaming, and digital video firsthand. Many of them will remember their college getting access to Facebook for the first time, the death of Napster, and the funny sounds their 28.8k modem made as it struggled to successfully download a single image file.”

It’s fair to assume that the coming changes will affect virtually everyone who consumes information. Of course, if you’re reading this, you’re already a little ahead of the game, and you probably know you can read ELEVATOR WORLD on your computer, phone or tablet. Where will you be reading it a couple of years from now?

KONE Launches Test of World’s First Tweeting Escalator

At an undisclosed location in London, a KONE escalator now is tweeting the details of its working day and conditions. “Escalators are the unsung heroes of cities. They move millions of people a day and, of course, they need to perform safely and smoothly,” said Max Alfthan, executive vice president, marketing and communications at KONE.

Social media is a powerful tool that serves many in different ways. It can empower the powerless; it can spread information at a “viral” pace; and, as everyone should know by now, affords public officials the opportunity to get their messages out directly to their constituents (for better or worse) without the filter of the professional news media. It in essence gives a voice to the voiceless. To that end, KONE has developed a social media presence for its vertical-transportation (VT) equipment. Specifically, The Dispatch-Argus reports, the VT giant has given one of its escalators a Twitter account, all part of its 24/7 Connected Services. The escalator — “At an undisclosed location in London,” the source notes — offers real-time updates of its performance through the handle @JustAnEscalator. A virtual reality and 360-degree video enhance the program. Are you wondering what an escalator has to tweet about? The recent screen grab at right gives a sample, plus, maybe, an idea of the technology’s potential. Like, say, alerting commuters when specific escalators are out of service or back in operation. That might be worth a tweet.

A Working Museum Piece

David Filippe, head operator of the manual elevator at the historic Oregon Bank Building, opens the lift’s collapsible gate earlier this month; Photo by Brittany Hosea-Small, the Herald and News.

Technology, like time itself, marches on, and this truth is no more evident than it is in the vertical-transportation industry. Over the course of recent years we’ve seen improvements that have allowed super-high-speed elevators, destination control and (soon) cars that can move without ropes, allowing them to travel in non-traditional directions. And, who’d have thought just a few years ago that it would be possible to summon an elevator with the phone in your pocket? Yet, for all the conveniences of the modern world, we can still celebrate the old know-how that enabled greater building heights back in the day. One place you can appreciate vintage elevator technology firsthand is the historic Oregon Bank Building in Klamath Falls, Oregon. Here, visitors can be taken for rides up and down the six-story office building, courtesy of a manual lift complete with uniformed operator. A recent feature article by the Herald and News notes that the elevator is nearly 87 years old but continues to operate flawlessly. The lift has, of course, undergone upgrades to meet current safety standards, but head operator David Filippe told the Herald and News that the building’s owners have done their best to retain its authenticity. Parts that had to be removed have even been put on display in a glass case in the building’s main lobby. Seems like a fitting tribute to the tech that helped get us where we are today.