‘launching my career selling, in the “desert”, not only a box and a string that goes up and down.’
written by PIERRE NJEIM and edited by Wayne Brown
I remember it like it was yesterday.
Seven years earlier, I sat with my family in the “Salon” and broke the news: I’m going to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to sell elevators!
Lots and lots of this.
Shock-and-awe is how I decided to break the news…
Nothing but dropped jaws, and finally, my spunky sister said it: We took you through engineering school so you could go to the desert and sell a box on a string that goes up and down!?
That is how I launched my career, ladies, and gentlemen. Selling, in the “desert,” a box and a string that goes up and down. What my family failed to realize back then, which I most definitely had envisioned, was that the elevator-escalator tribe would give me everything I have today (hindsight is 20-20, as they say).
I’ve met countless amazing people across the world. Learned more about life and business than I could ever have imagined. Traveled to over a dozen countries, and got the qualifications to transition into my current blockbuster.
Images from that journey…
The first photo here was the APEX of an Executive level workshop with Microsoft in “Vegas Baby!” Our objective was to envision a potential POC, or proof of concept for those who are not fond of acronyms. The product on the table was a remote learning application using HOLOLENS. Yes, we’re talking about next-level training programs here, augmented reality and sweets.
Second up, we have a photo at the HQ in Essen, where I brought in gamification suppliers mainly based in Europe to enlighten our policy and decision-makers.
Last but not least was an incredible international managers program organized by Madrid’s learning and development organization. We got hands-on exposure to elevator installation methods, the old and the new, and executives from across the globe meeting up with us and sharing their strategic and operational vision.
Is it only a box on a string that goes up and down …
First of all, big sis, I didn’t only sell the box on a string; I’ve also sold the moving staircase they call an escalator so take that!
Alright, I’ve digressed enough. Time to lock in why I’m here …
My role as an innovator and my goal is not to tell you about me and my life (more than what I have already). I want to take you through the many innovations that currently span the elevator-escalator tribe. Thus giving you some ideas about what might be possible in the future.
And I’ll start with ARTIFICAL INTELLIGENCE: Ouuuuuhhhh!
In my world, digital academia, tech startups in Paris, and digital consulting, AI is everywhere and worn with pride. It spikes stocks and works like magic.
AI is the sexy, the new (not really), but still the now.
Here’s a quick definition from Wikipedia: In computer science, artificial intelligence (AI), sometimes called machine intelligence, is intelligence demonstrated by machines, in contrast to the natural intelligence displayed by humans and other animals.
So how does this relate to our tribe, you may ask?
And bear with me through this seemingly mundane, but I promise useful description.
We use escalators, elevators, walkways every day of our life. In addition to using other vertical and horizontal transportation devices that do not talk to each other. They are in our apartment buildings, our office buildings, schools, hospitals, airports, roads, everywhere. We use them at times in specific recurrent time intervals and others just erratically.
We click the button twice and three times, and in some cases, keep pressing that button. Occasionally we even get stuck in an elevator but those instances are rare.
For someone into disrupting a traditional industry, this is just prime grounds for AI here.
Try visualizing this:
My autonomous car in the world of tomorrow, or my smart car in today’s world, signals the building elevator. Notifying the system of the exact time I will be in any specific building and for any particular purpose. In some cases, the car tells me which elevator will be waiting. It can be another story about a love affair between my car and the elevator.
The selected elevator does its final drop-off and goes to the ground floor to wait for the digital signal that I have entered, then closes the doors. I don’t even need to press a button since the elevator already knows where I want to go.
It plays my favorite music, based on my regular playlists. Then dims the lights to my liking from learning my living room’s preferred lighting. And it pumps in a hint of fragrance that I like, stimulating my senses for those seconds, I ride in it.
Now imagine this on a system-wide, global scale…
- The true meaning of minimum waiting times.
- Delivering a wonderful elevator experience.
- And introducing the elements of AI into the elevator’s logic
If you feel that my story is just too out there…
… for that box on a string that goes up and down, I tell you this: It is doable today, not tomorrow; it is available right now.
Music streaming companies like Deezer already have a feature in their application called “Flow.” It anticipates the type of music the listener would like to listen to at any given time during the day while working out, sleeping, commuting, etc.
Google Home already connects all electrical appliances at your home to one single hub, which allows for remote monitoring, control, and machine learning for preferred habits.
Elon Musk already produces a smart autonomous car that connects to your home or office to send and receive signals.
Elevator companies already have algorithms that anticipate demand…
Imagine uniting all the above under the umbrella of an AI. Picture someone working on aggregating transportation and preferences for one seem-less experience. Beginning the moment, you open your eyes in the morning to the moment you close them at night. It is freeing you up to only think about and do the important things during your day.
Realizing the dream, it’s close…
Yes, it is the dream, leveraging the progressive leaps in computing power during the last decades. This development is driving the recent boom in AI companies globally.
Now let’s call on the cheque-writers and ask for their enlightenment. To believe in a project which tackles the need of today and invests resources into developing it. A project that is not necessarily the most traditional for elevator companies. This will need a whole new set of skills and competencies from those involved.
Who will manage these projects, and how is another topic for another day.
Pierre …”P”… Njeim, signing off… thanks for reading!
Note from the Coach …
Thank you, Pierre – it’s a great article, and the future looks very intriguing. I’m sure many are nervous about what this future looks like for them and our tribe. We look forward to your next article and welcome others to share their thoughts and comments on this.
Until next time stay safe and keep learning!