The maintenance of elevators and other mechanical systems housed by built environments is set to undergo radical change thanks to emerging technologies such as augmented reality and the Internet of Things.

Engineering firms are turning to the latest augmented reality technologies currently making their debut on the market to improve maintenance and repair operations for the mechanical systems of built environments.

Germany’s ThyssenKrupp has announced that it will use the Microsoft HoloLens augmented reality device to help the company’s 24,000 global service technicians ensure that elevators under their care can operate safely and effectively.

The augmented reality capabilities of the HoloLens will enable service technicians to access endless amounts of technical information and expertise while on site via the Skype-connected wearable device, dramatically enhancing the ease and convenience of the repair process.

Service technicians can also use the device to visualise and identify elevator malfunctions before they even arrive on repair sites.

Preliminary field trials indicate that the use of the device could increase the speed of service maintenance calls by as much as fourfold.

Andreas Schierenbeck, ThyssenKrupp Elevator CEO, expects the device to help raise efficiency and elevator uptime, as well as speed up service interventions to ensure that mobile equipment is running properly as much as possible.

The AEC sector has increased its focus on the potential for augmented reality technologies to improve on-site building and maintenance operations by enabling workers to access virtually limitless data and information on projects via mobile smart devices that they can wear on their heads.

The technology could have a transformative impact upon the global elevator service industry, which caters to over 12 million elevators around the world that transport more than 1 billion people each day.

Augmented reality is far from the only emerging technology that engineers are using to improve the operation of mechanical systems in buildings.

ThyssenKrupp has also adopted Internet of Things (IoT) technology with the launch of its MAX system, which provides elevators with a cloud connected predictive maintenance system.

The system uses predictive analysis to reduce elevator downtime by anticipating potential malfunctions in advance, with ThyssenKrupp estimating that it has increased the availability of thousands of mobility devices in the US, Germany and Spain by as much as 95 million hours per year of operation.