Past Opportunities 29.05.2020

“We Want to Create Buildings that can Plan for the Future” – What can SMEs Bring to the KEKO Ecosystem?

The KEKO Ecosystem Venture Client Opportunity is looking to utilize data to create building experiences. KONE Head of Technology Management Rauno Hatakka tells what the 7-company-consortium is looking for with startup partners.

You’ve all heard the term “smart building”. It’s talked about a lot, some people even describe it as part of their job. However, there is no universal definition of what qualifies as a smart building. This is what KEKO Ecosystem companies, KONE and six other Finnish industry leaders, were aware of and set out to create a global standard for smart building platforms.

“We had all these world-class solutions, but none of us were really communicating with one another,” says KONE’s Head of Technology Management, Rauno Hatakka. “This is not something that’s just nice to have. We are in it to create use cases that we can reproduce and that create value.”

Rauno says the current global standards for buildings in this space are green building standards. While useful and necessary in their own right, these standards are far away from what KEKO is striving to create. Moreover, as many of these standards are created for local legislation, the KEKO platform is designed for global use. So, what will this standard encompass?

“With data, we want to create buildings that can predict and plan for the future,” Rauno says. For this, he talks about a hypothetical example of cleaning a building lobby. For that, KONE has people flow data of how many people pass through and what time. Combine these with air quality sensors from Halton and moisture sensors in the lobby carpet, and you can predict when is the best time to clean up. This can take the form of an automatic message to the janitors, telling them between 1-2 pm on a Thursday, switching clean carpets will cause minimal disruption.

Finding a Challenge-Solution Fit

What is essential here is wireless technology. Using virtual wiring, building functions can be changed with commands or automatically, based on the observed conditions. A working ecosystem within the building made up of different technology solutions will create the building experience for the end-user.

What the KEKO team looks for from startup teams is a challenge-solution fit that benefits the client or end-user. Points are not handed out for complicated solutions: rather, if solution depth and scale can be achieved fast with hardware that is already available, you are probably on to a winning suggestion.

“You can’t compete with simplicity if your weapon of choice is hardware,” Rauno says. “Make use of existing components and combine them. That way we can create great solutions together.”

KEKO have set their sights on new and old buildings. Not only are builders hungry for smart solutions based on wireless tech, but the market for modernizing standing buildings is huge too. What’s more, sustainability can be inherently achieved in optimizing user data, whether it is lighting, heating, or anything else that has traditionally relied on manual controls.

“Let’s See What We Can Do Together!”

All of KEKO’s founding members are large corporations. So to create their standard, they need SMEs from all industries joining in too. Startup teams are the target here too: scaling tech solutions on the combined markets of seven companies might be a dream-come-true for many Founders.

“We have many great players on the team,” Rauno summarizes, talking about the corporations. “Let’s see what we can all do together!”