IoT is Useful For So Much More Than Ordering a Pizza

Thanks to IoT, elevators can tell their repair technicians when maintenance is needed.

I have to admit, when I first started hearing about the Internet of Things (IoT), I was skeptical about the usefulness of having a thermostat or a refrigerator online. It sounded silly, kind of like the TV commercial in which a teenager walks into the kitchen and begins barking commands at appliances: “Computer, order pizza! Fridge, weather! Trash can, turn on the TV!”

We’re all aware of smart-home technology, so the commercial’s scenario isn’t really all that outlandish. And, being able to remotely operate your thermostat really does offer an advantage over old-school, manual pressing of buttons. But, the area where IoT is perhaps making its biggest splash is in industrial maintenance — specifically, predictive maintenance. With that in mind, buildings.com recently published an article, “Predictive Maintenance: Top 10 Ways IoT is Changing Elevators.” We list them here:

  1. Monitoring Operating Conditions
  2. Predictive Maintenance
  3. Remote Diagnostics and Troubleshooting
  4. Real-Time Notifications
  5. Behavioral Insights
  6. Avoided Downtime
  7. Increased Product Reliability
  8. Flexible Communication Standards
  9. Less Frequent Replacement
  10. Enabling Better Facilities Management

For details about each point, click, tap or command your phone to take you to the link above.

At Skilled-Worker Competition, Everybody Wins

We hear almost daily that the careers of the future are in high technology, and to survive in this future our children and grandchildren will need education in the realm of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). There may be a grain of truth in that, but the nation still needs workers skilled in hands-on occupations — everything from cosmetology to construction, electrician to elevator technician. This is where SkillsUSA comes in. This association serves people preparing for careers in trade, technical and skilled-service occupations, and it showcases its efforts in the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference. This year, the event drew 18,000 people to Louisville, Kentucky, many of them competing with peers in an event that’s doing its part to revive the trades. Good-paying jobs are out there; SkillsUSA is showing the way to them. While many of the competitors in this year’s event were young people just starting out, others were mid-career folks looking for new opportunities; the oldest was 73. Special thanks to the nonprofit WorkingNation for helping to get the word out through its promotion of the event.

What the Inspector Found

Apache County, Arizona, Court Administrator Sueanne Czarnyszka stands next to the door to an elevator mechanical room in the courthouse basement where historic documents were discovered. The note on the door reminds everyone that storage is not allowed in the room; photo by Trudy Balcom/The Independent.

A routine elevator inspection isn’t always routine — problems that need correcting may be uncovered, and, in a worst-case scenario, the elevator may be shut down for safety reasons. But, a recent inspection at the Apache County Courthouse in St. Johns, Arizona, was unusual for an entirely different reason: it turned up a treasure trove of old papers that document the county’s early history, the White Mountain Independent reports. While conducting his check of

This colorful 1918 plat map of Apache County includes the handwritten names of property owners and a legend of the county’s original wagon trails. The map was in use until 1937; photo by Trudy Balcom/The Independent.

an elevator at the courthouse, the inspector entered a mechanical room in which boxes had been inappropriately stored. He told Court Administrator Sueanne Czarnyszka that the boxes would have to be removed, so she had the boxes taken up to her office and began inspecting their contents. What she found was amazing: For one, a 1918 color plat map of the county that had handwritten names of landowners; but, there was also a variety of legal documents, including court proceedings and attorney records. Among notable items were documents relating to landowner and pardoned criminal Phin Clanton, whose brother, Billy, was killed in the famous “Gunfight at O.K. Corral.” Phin was later suspected in an apparent revenge ambush of lawman Virgil Earp, though he was never charged.

The priceless documents are to be sent to the state archives, but they provide a valuable reminder: you never know what will turn up during a routine elevator inspection.