Elevator Controls 2.0
[Warning: This is a post mostly about elevator controls and information theory. This is of interest to a tiny number of people. There is a bit about personal freedom and technological encroachment on it, but really it is mostly about elevator controls and information theory. I wont be offended if you read no further.]
Fancy hotels are fiercely competitive and they want better elevator experience for their clients. And it turns out that the old fashion ways of operating elevators is slightly slower and more crowded than the new technique which I am calling elevator control 2.0.
Old style elevators are summoned with simple up or down buttons on each floor. Then everyone on the floor going in one direction selects their floor from inside the elevator car. The elevator makes multiple stops letting passengers off at the floors they have selected. Passengers usually do not talk with each other and stay as far from each other as is possible inside the elevator.
In elevator controls 2.0 your experience starts are you approach the elevator lobby. A sensor detects that you are approach and small touch screen turns on and gives you the list of floors you can travel to. When you select a floor the touch screen clears and tells you which elevator bank will be going to your floor. Within seconds the message for you vanishes and the touch screen returns to the list of floors.
Your elevator comes in at the specified bank (which you have moved to board after reading the touch screen) and you board. The elevator tells you what it’s single destination is and when you get in there are only 5 buttons, none of them allow you to select floors.
So why change systems?
The systems is called “Destination Control” and it improves efficiency by up to 30% by having the information about floors before the passage arrives and by coordinating cars among different passengers by destination.
There will be some adoption problems with this new system. People want to feel like they are in control of the elevator car as they have been in the past. But as they did with driverless monorails, cars that are no longer fixable by owners and push button phones over rotary dial, users will adapt. In large part because they have no choice. Progress marches on.
When you bump into your first destination control elevator realize you are likely to get where you want to go faster, even if you have less control.