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Sharry, a Czech company that supplies smart solutions to state-of-the-art office buildings in Europe, the USA, and Africa, has developed a special solution for touch-free elevator control. This innovation contributes to countering the spread of COVID-19 and other diseases.

Ondřej Langr, Sharry's product manager, describes how this product works: “When a person passes through turnstiles on the ground floor, our system automatically calls an elevator set to stop on the floor where they work. If they miss the elevator or want to go to a different floor, they can simply use their mobile phone to choose the floor number.”

Portable electronic devices

Users can thus control the elevator from their mobile phones and avoid using its buttons, which in normal operation are touched several times a day by virtually every employee and visitor to the building. "We are developing this new technology in cooperation with major elevator suppliers and based on the requirements of our customers all over the world," adds Ondřej Langr.

Their 'favourite floors' that they visit most often will be displayed, or they can choose a different one"

The touch-free elevator system works uses special sensors – Bluetooth low energy beacons – located by the elevators. This proximity device runs on a single battery for up to four years and broadcasts its identifier to nearby portable electronic devices such as smartphones or smart watches. “When a user approaches the elevator beacon, the system automatically sends a push notification to their phone's display, through which they can call the elevator. Their 'favourite floors' that they visit most often will be displayed, or they can choose a different one,” says the Sharry product manager.

Mobile access system

Key benefits of touch-free elevator control from Sharry:

  • Automatically calls an elevator when a user arrives at the building.
  • Elevator control using a specific user's own phone.
  • Minimises the transmission of infection from surfaces touched by a large number of people.
  • Special sensors (beacons) or GPS user location prevent the elevator from being called remotely, for example from home.
  • Users will first see "their" floor and ground floor on their phone, the two most frequently visited floors, for quick selection.

The new touch-free elevator feature is fully integrated with Sharry's mobile access system that offers a flawless and unique experience in premium office building. This feature will be available in Q3/2020 in the Sharry Workplace product line, and will be available for the Apple Watch in Q4/2020.

Touch-free elevator control

"The world has changed. We must prepare for the fact that even after the coronavirus pandemic subsides, efforts will continue to eliminate contact with other people and things as much as possible. The future is touch-free. But touch-free elevator control is no science fiction, it's already here,” points out Josef Šachta, Sharry's CEO.

With touch-free elevator control, Sharry is expanding its palette of services and functions it is integrating into its smart ecosystem, and which users can control using a modern application directly from their smartphones. "At the same time, we're giving administrators and property managers additional tools to eliminate the risk of infection in the building and prepare for people returning to the office from their homes," says Jakub Řezníček, Chief Product Officer (CPO) and co-founder of Sharry.

Disposable plastic cards

If the workers or guests drive, a smart camera link recognises their license plate and opens the gates automatically

The company also offers touch-free lobby check-in for visitors, who thus do not have to write anything in a visitor log book or use disposable plastic cards, but simply identify themselves at the reception desk using a QR code on their mobile phone. If the workers or guests drive, a smart camera link recognises their license plate and opens the gates automatically without any touch-needed gesture. Parking management ensures maximal utilisation of parking spots.

Sharry also allows the use of a mobile app and digital signage (displays) in the building to inform users and visitors what measures are currently in force and how to behave as considerately as possible in the building. The products all have a common denominator: they minimise contact with surfaces in the building's common areas of the building and make being in the building as pleasant as possible.

Channel for quick communication

At the same time, building managers have a channel for quick communication with all users through digital signage or messages sent directly to the mobile app. Why are elevators high-risk areas and what are people afraid of upon their return to the office?

  • Contamination on surfaces touched by employees and customers is one of the main ways that COVID-19 spreads," says the World Health Organisation.
  • Elevator buttons have a greater potential to transmit infection than toilet flush handles, indicates research published in Open Medicine magazine.
  • Real estate consulting company Knight Frank puts elevators at the head of the list of high-risk areas in office buildings.
  • Viruses can spread very quickly in offices. According to a study by the American Society for Microbiology, within four hours they spread from one infected site to 40-60% of users, visitors, or frequently used surfaces.
  • In order for people in an office building to feel safe again, it is advisable to limit elevator capacity. In a survey conducted by HubbleHQ and Concrete VC, 85 % of respondents were in favour of this measure.
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