The better elevator

I’ve never seen an improved elevator. I’ve seen improved cars, trains, and planes. Never elevators though. You would think that there would be more to elevators today than simply up, down, and selecting buttons.

What does this have to do with anything? Well, I’m a stickler for efficiency and optimization. During our in-house Agile training class, we set aside time to play a game called “What’s your MVP”. This game allows people to get into teams and come up with either a real or made up product and come up with it’s list of MVPs.

Since I’ve played the game several times, mine is always elevator improvement. I mean, 10% of my day is riding up and down elevators. They are extremely slow and out dated. They may have new parts if they were recently built, but that’s it. So, if I owned an elevator company, these would be my improvements:

1.) First, there is no arrangement. People crowd in first come first serve, or if there are gentlemen, they will let the Ladies on first. Inevitably, though, people that end up in the back get off first pushing through others and people in the front get off last.

Solution: Create some type of “grid” or system where those that are getting off on certain floors stand in a certain place. For example, in a 9 floor building, floors 1-3 get stand in the front 1/3rd of the elevator; floors 4-6 stand in the middle; and floors 7-9 stand in the back 1/3rd.

2.) While there is a weight limit to elevators it’s just a maximum. You could literally let 15 people on and still meet the limit; yet the elevator would be extremely overcrowded. Still, even if the capacity was full (not the weight limit) the elevator will still stop on floors assuming more people could get on thus wasting time.

Solution: Have a built in sensor that can tell when there are too many people on the elevator. Typically, any more than about 6 people is just too many. This would prevent elevators from stopping on floors when no other people would fit. It would still be a weight limit, so something like 6 (people) x avg. Weight ($170 lbs?).

3.) At the end of the day, and since I’m on the top floor, we play a game called “guess how many floors we stop on today before we can go home.” The point is, you can’t tell which floors an elevator is going to stop on. It’s really annoying!

Solution: Add an extra light panel allowing for different color lights on the buttons. If the buttons are normally orange, make them red when the elevator is going to make another stop.

4.) Elevators never seem to be there when you need them. There are three times of the day that there is excess use: Morning, lunch, and closing. It seems in the morning you have to wait 5 minutes for an elevator to be available.

Solution: Come up with a better algorithm for these specific times. For example, between 7 AM and 9 AM have all of the elevators automatically go down to the first floor vs. staying on the floor that was let out.You’d do the same for lunch but have the elevators evenly dispersed among floors, and at close you’d have a majority of them at the higher levels.

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