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KONE, one of the world’s leading elevator and escalator companies, was invited to participate in the EIDD (European Institute for Design and Disability) 10th anniversary conference in Dublin April 4, 2003.
In a presentation prepared by Kone Corporation’s CEO Antti Herlin, the importance of accessibility for all was shown to be consistent with the primary concerns of the elevator industry. KONE’s presentation, entitled “From Mission Statement to Practice”, emphasized KONE’s innovative approach to ensuring that access for all is achieved within the context of supporting efforts to achieve a sustainable modern society.
Location is Nothing without Access
KONE strives to provide access for all in sustainable environment in which people need KONE’s equipment and services because they work, play, travel and live on many levels above and below the ground. Access means not only getting from point A to point B but also gaining vertical access to their destination and points along the way. There are more than six million elevators in operation today, and each day millions of people around the world rely on escalators and elevators to take them down to metros and shopping centers and up to high-rise buildings. People with limited mobility - approximately 38 million people (one European in 10 has a disability) - rely on elevators and escalators even more than rest of the population.
In Antti Herlin’s message, KONE emphasized cases in which the company puts its commitment to access for all into action: “Elderly people who live above the ground floor are especially dependent on elevators. In a rapidly aging population more and more people are being forced to move from their homes to assisted-living facilities because they cannot negotiate stairs. Most countries have enacted laws requiring new multi-story buildings to have elevators, but the number of existing buildings without elevators is significant in every country. KONE has developed a quick and economical method for installing reliable elevators in elevator-less buildings. The elevator shaft can be cut into a stairwell or added onto the outside of a building with a minimum or disruptions to tenants, who can continue to live in their homes during the installation process. Installing elevators in elevator-less buildings may be the single most-effective way to reduce the number of people being consigned to expensive health-care facilities and extend the period of independent living for senior citizens and people with limited mobility.
“With the help of sensitive remote monitoring equipment, high-speed data transmission networks, and 24-hour service centres to monitor elevator system operations, KONE can often anticipate and corrects problems before building tenants even know they exist. If someone should need assistance, direct voice communication can be established instantly with the service centre.
“Elevators comprise one of the world’s safest modes of transportation. EU safety requirements for new elevators, strongly backed by the elevator industry, have greatly reduced the risk of accident and injury. Unfortunately, the political will to require owners of existing elevators to upgrade their aging equipment to the same rigorous safety standards is lacking. KONE’s professional modernization services can also bring aging elevators up to today’s standards for safety and reliability.
“KONE is a service company. KONE’s job is to make people’s lives safer and easier. KONE does that through vertical transportation, which facilitates access for the users of KONE’s products and equipment. Access for all is the logic behind all KONE does, and sustainability as a concept that links what we do today with what KONE hopes to be able to do tomorrow. “
KONE Responds to Accessibility Challenge
The issue of accessibility has received increasing attention in recent years. The design-for-all approach sets out to ensure full access to products and services for everyone. In urban societies this means that new technical and social solutions are needed to facilitate mobility in everyday life for all people, be they young or old, healthy or disabled.
KONE access-for-all agenda promotes sustainable urban living, highlighting the importance of moving people and goods in reliable, innovative, dedicated and responsible ways. KONE’s products and services –elevators, escalators and automatic building doors - are an integral part of the accessibility chain of buildings and urban infrastructure. The benefits of the products and systems are not accidental; they are planned and embedded in all product development work.
Modern urban planning encourages optimal land use and high-rise construction, making unimpeded movement an important goal. Elevators and escalators make buildings functional and unite them with their surroundings. KONE enables the efficient flow of goods and people in places such as tall buildings and metros, where access would be difficult for everyone and impossible for those with disabilities in the absence of reliable vertical transportation systems.
Vice President, Corporate Communications
For further information, please contact:
Annamari Lammassaari, phone +358 204 75 4339, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org