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6 Things You Should Know About KONE’s Biggest R&D Site
Those of you in Finland may have already noticed the imposing KONE testing tower when driving down the motorway towards Tampere or passing the Hyvinkää junction. But have you got any idea what actually happens behind the scenes at KONE Hyvinkää?
To help you, we have listed six facts that you should know about KONE’s Hyvinkää R&D site. What is it like to work there? What exactly goes on in the simulation lab? And how are people rising to the challenge of remote work?
We went straight to the source by speaking to people who know KONE Hyvinkää the best (clue: the people who actually work there). Antti Perko, Head of Advanced People Flow Solutions, and Aldina Codesso-Lipponen, Program Test Manager, sat down with us to lift the lid on KONE R&D Finnish-style.
First and foremost, Hyvinkää is home to a unique testing lab where the future of elevators is quietly being worked on in the peace of the Finnish countryside.
Antti is always proud to take new employees or colleagues down to the lab when they come to visit Hyvinkää for the first time.
“The Hyvinkää testing laboratory is massive: the whole basement is filled with a variety of simulators and testing equipment. It’s a pretty impressive view and it serves as a concrete reminder of the main reason for our existence and our purpose at Hyvinkää: R&D.”
One of the other cool things about Hyvinkää is that its testing labs are unique when compared to the test automation industry as a whole, as Aldina reminds us.
“In terms of the world, we can consider these testing environments highly advanced.”
As Antti explains, KONE has more than 1,000 people working in Hyvinkää: it is undisputedly the largest R&D site for KONE around the world.
“At Hyvinkää there is a strong hybrid ethos with the merging of a traditional elevator culture with new digital avenues and solutions.
Nowadays, it’s balanced when it comes to digitization and software in elevator development and production.”
For Aldina, creatively sharing ideas is what keeps things interesting in her team.
“I love our team’s R&D culture of brainstorming and gathering ideas together.”
Go check out Aldina’s presentation in RoboCon 2018 conference in Helsinki about the pains and gains of using robots in elevator projects.
Antti has been at KONE for ten years come January 2021, and he is now leading the Advanced People Flow Solutions Tribe.
Antti’s Advanced People Flow Tribe is made up of the following solution teams:
- The flow team is responsible for elevator destination control systems and access management. Destination control means sophisticated means to manage vertical transportation in environments where traffic is high.
- The infotainment team creates elevator media solutions that allow for onscreen content, brand soundtracks, and complete audiovisual elevator experiences.
- KONE People Flow Planning & Consulting helps create buildings with seamless People Flow. We gather and analyze data and simulate reality to get insights into what works and what doesn’t – and why.
- KONE API Services enable futureproof smart building and allows customers to innovate and create smart building solutions of their own. With this service, new applications and different types of equipment and services can be connected – creating a smoother, safer, and more efficient, personalized People Flow experience for the building users. At the same time, KONE API Services enable customers faster response, more-informed decision and stronger relationship between building owners and building users.
Aldina started as a tester at KONE and is now all about test automation. Right now, at KONE Aldina and her team are coding their tests, taking charge of elevator integration testing.
“The elevator is a complex product consisting of many components: lift logic software, door software, safety software, motor software, etc.: we work to integrate all of this automatically; our continuous integration and test automation ensures the whole system works together.”
Aldina’s team is made up of just nine people working in lift integration testing, but together with the other team specializing in lift software, there are about 30 people in total. Aldina and her team are also constantly working with testers across five teams. “The team is spread across India and Hyvinkää.
For Aldina, working in Hyvinkää with a peaceful daily commute from Järvenpää is a major bonus: sidestepping the negative effects of rush hour commuting to a busy city.
“Rather than adding up the minutes you’re sitting in a traffic jam, you can get to work and get things done faster.
There is also a direct bus link from Kamppi to our reception area, connecting Kamppi with the Hyvinkää site in just 40 minutes (a 50 km journey).
People come to Hyvinkää from all over, from places like Riihimäki, Malmi, Lahti, Hämeenlinna, Järvenpää, Helsinki, Kirkkonummi, Tampere, and Helsinki....”
But Aldina is also quick to highlight the remote working opportunities at KONE Hyvinkää.
“Even though we have a physical testing environment in Hyvinkää, our integration testing team can fully control testing remotely: you can click a button and reset the environment from your home office.
For each team the end goal is automation: the elevator software testing team is more and more automated.
During COVID-19, fully remote newcomers have been going smoothly. Working closely with KONE India in Chennai means that remote working is already an integral element of the ways that KONE works.”
Little things like the ten-minute morning chats before the daily technical meeting are appreciated in a remote working context, Aldina explains.
“This morning coffee corner for me is all about us going outside into my garden and having a morning coffee and saying hello to everybody without speaking about work.”
Antti is also positive about remote working: “our team has shown itself to be exceptionally flexible and the last few months the team have been great at work despite all the challenges.
Speaking to my own tribe, it seems that the majority of people are enjoying the new remote working emphasis, though some people are of course missing the social elements of office life.
The main thing is finding the right mechanisms and ways of working: collaboration has never been about standing around in the same room.”
The great thing about Hyvinkää according to Aldina is the fact that lots of different kinds of professionals are working under the same roof:
“Whether you are a tester, UX or UI designer, embedded software engineer, business manager or what not, you’re all contributing to world-class products, serving billions of people around the globe.
Think about the vast opportunities to learn from experts in different fields and to get different perspectives on the digitalization journey of KONE.”