Don't Touch That Filthy Elevator Button! Now There's An App For That

Mitsubishi Electric US has unveiled an app that lets users summon an elevator in the building where they live or work, cutting wait time.

And they won’t have to press a potentially lethal button to get the elevator to their floor, or press another one to tell it where to go. No touching. No germs.

In a post-COVID-19 world, office and apartment building managers likely will be expected -- or even required -- to improvise to keep people safe. This app may be just a harbinger of odd devices to come.

Amazon is now selling the “DT Girl Contactless EDC Door Opener” for $7. It’s shaped somewhat like a jailer’s large key on a key ring, and the product description shows someone using the long end to press an elevator button.



That is a cheaper and more immediate solution, because the Mitsubishi app only works with elevators equipped with the Mitsubishi Electric Sigma AI 2200C Destination Oriented Allocation System. Does your building have one?

“Think of the application as a substitute for an ID card, with the bonus that the application can call an elevator for you while you’re walking down the hall, as opposed to walking down the hall, touching the call button and then waiting for your elevator,” a spokeswoman explained to Marketing Daily.  “From a safety and security perspective, it is very useful for buildings where certain floors have restricted access.”

Altogether, there are an estimated 1.1 million elevators in the U.S.

A website hosted by a large Florida elevator repair and service company called Connections says the average elevator rider uses one four times a day. Another website estimates New York City has 84,000 elevators, more than any other U.S. city. So if an elevator app catches on, the sky’s the limit.

“Our goal at Mitsubishi Electric is always to provide quality and convenience to the user,” said Chris Cole, national sales and marketing manager, Mitsubishi Electric US, Inc., Elevator & Escalator Division. “Especially these days, it’s important to be able to offer solutions to building owners that keeps passengers from having to touch common surfaces."

The Japanese company has made elevators since 1931 and began a U.S. division in 1985. Mitsubishi trails Otis and Schindler in the elevator market,  but as it predicts a 20% share in the near future. It’s a big player in the quickly expanding Asian markets.

Another device, called myPORT,  is an extension of the Schindler Group's Personal Occupant Requirement Terminal (PORT) technology. The PORT system provides people with a preprogrammed access card that they swipe at a terminal to gain access to a building and call the elevator so it's waiting for them on entry.

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