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KONE To Put Facial Recognition And Alexa Listening Devices In Elevators

Published: December 3, 2019
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Source: Mass Private I

The good old days of elevator music being a minor distraction is about change.

VentureBeat reports that "elevators of the future will have virtual windows, voice-activated controls, music-streaming, and more."

KONE's DX Class, elevators will give security and the buildings owners, unparalleled access to view what is happening inside their elevators.

"Yesterday’s announcement concerned new elevators designed from the get-go with connectivity built in, allowing building owners to remotely control, activate, and deactivate specific services from a central dashboard. The setup includes a dynamic display, acoustics, and lighting that can be used to tailor the ambiance and interior."

KONE's "Monitoring Solutions" page also reveals that security and law enforcement can identify elevator riders in real-time.They even went so far as to trademark their real-time elevator spying program. It's called KONE E-Link:

"With KONE E-Link you can monitor all your elevators and escalators from a single location. It gives you a real-time overview of equipment status, demand, traffic performance, and availability."

Not only will security and the buildings owners have access to what is going on inside their elevators in real-time, but residents can also use Alexa to call the elevator while they are in their apartments.

VentureBeat's story revealed that KONE plans to use Alexa and other companies like Robotise and BlindSquare to track people in the elevator.

Putting microphones inside elevators will transform them into Big Brother listening devices to spy on you and your family.

As CNN reported earlier this year,

"Amazon reportedly employs thousands of full-time workers and contractors in several countries, including the United States, Costa Rica and Romania, to listen to as many as 1,000 audio clips in shifts that last up to nine hours. The audio clips they listen to were described as mundane and even sometimes possibly criminal, including listening to a potential sexual assault."

Forbes warned that company's usage of Alexa Guard is much more intrusive than their normal consumer used Alexa because it requires no wake word, is always listening, and cannot be turned off. (To learn more about Alexa Guard, click here.)

Turning elevators into 24/7 listening devices will make everyone long for the good old days when elevators just played bad music.

Tomio Pihkala, KONE’s executive vice president said,

"Computer vision is really one of the big things which we are working on quite a lot, Pihkala added. There are many use cases — facial recognition in the context of accessibility is a really obvious one for us."

As VentureBeat pointed out, KONE has 450,000 customers worldwide. Their "Press Releases" page documents nearly 15 years of acquisitions and installations that would make even the most cynical person cringe.

Some of KONE's recent contracts are Chicago's Union Station Tower, the Garden Office Tower in Boston and the City of Kansas City. They are even in a cruise ship called the Harmony of the Seas.

KONE's "Traffic History Playback" feature is also a major privacy concern for elevator riders.

"The history playback facility is a unique KONE E-Link feature. The need for playback may arise due to suspected misuse, reported incidents, or complaints by tenants. This feature facilitates reruns and study of elevator and escalator operating events and status changes, as if on a video recorder."

How long does law enforcement or security store elevator video footage for? And are they recording audio?

For those of you who thought smart city surveillance ended the moment you walked inside a building or went on a cruise ship, guess what it doesn't.  When elevators are being monetized to listen to our conversations and identify us, we all lose.

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