Do not underestimate the ubiquitous escalator and elevator—manufacturers of these commonplace devices are key players in eco-friendliness and environmental sustainability.

When it comes to funding in technological innovation, even makers of elevators and escalators have a part to play. While such devices are taken for granted and considered by some to have already reached maximum sophistication in serving their function, developers of smart cities can tap into certain manufacturers’ proclivity towards funding sustainability.

One smart city that has welcomed such manufacturers in its plans is Singapore. In Oct 2020, the city launched a Smart Urban Co-Innovation Lab—South-east Asia’s first industry-led lab for smart cities solutions development to co-innovate and co-create with other industry partners on the future of living.

According to corporate partner KONE Corporation—a long-time collaborator in previous city development initiatives, the CapitaLand-led project “will serve as an open platform where diverse industry players come together to tackle today’s pressing issues such as smart mobility, intelligent urban development, sustainability among others.”

Added Axel Berkling, Executive Vice President, KONE Asia Pacific: “The Lab will also play a key role in shaping the future of living in Singapore: to be smarter and more sustainable. Singapore is the regional innovation hub for KONE, and we are excited to be a part of such a critical collaborative movement that integrates the deeper physical environment with smart digital capabilities.”

Said Aylwin Tan, Chief Customer Solutions Officer, CapitaLand Group: “We welcome KONE and its partners to be part of the growing Smart Urban Co-Innovation Lab communities, where we can better exchange ideas, strengthen Singapore’s built environment ecosystems, explore opportunities and new business models, as well as facilitate deployment of innovative smart cities solutions.”

Adopting a digital-by-design approach to business, the firm has collaborated with governments, city commissions, urban planners, property developers in several global markets to recreate safer user journeys and to create greener, sustainable and smarter everyday urban environments.

Since June 1978, KONE has been an active urban development and sustainability player in Singapore. In 2018, it opened a new state-of-the-art experience center at MapleTree Industrial New Hi-Tech Space, a 25,000-square-feet facility that also houses its Asia Pacific headquarters and Singapore operations, as well as a 24/7 call center.