How did the idea for WeMaintain come about?
WeMaintain began in 2017 with a simple observation: for years, the treatment of building managers and engineers have been kept to a minimum standard. While elevator products have benefited from technological innovations, the level and quality of solutions in the maintenance business has not improved. We noticed that the time was right for a new business model, one that combined improved technical proficiency with the development of digital tools. We also believed that the technology that supports the critical systems of a building could be more intuitive, more interactive with other building systems and make the maintenance process more seamless and more transparent. These elements would be critical in the advent of the smart city era.
Talk us through the company and what it provides
WeMaintain differs from the legacy players who have historically dominated the market in several key ways. Firstly, in its capacity to align with our clients’ needs and to use data to empower our engineers and customers. Secondly, our customer-centric (rather than machine-centric) vision, which means a more human experience, but one supported by state-of-the-art technology. Thirdly, our model is designed to redistribute value to the people creating the value for customers: the engineers. They’re given more autonomy and flexibility.
WeMaintain provides an end-to-end solution for building managers and asset owners. This solution measures elevator and escalator use and provides smart maintenance solutions. Our IoT sensors can measure building-systems use and inform the maintenance of critical building systems. Consequently, we can deliver an unparalleled quality experience to customers in building operations, such as elevators, doors, fire safety systems, while providing asset owners and operators with reliable and comprehensive data. We enable them to optimise their assets while improving the occupant experience.
What truly sets WeMaintain apart from its competitors is that tech underpins everything we do. Our proprietary IoT, app and interactive dashboard (which gives customers unfiltered information in real time) has been praised by our clients as like nothing available elsewhere. This information can relate to traffic, occupancy rates, inter-floor flow and unit usage data. Building owners and managers can therefore make better decisions over time, and improve the overall efficiency—and profitability—of their assets.
What technology do you use?
We use proprietary IoT sensors supported by a private cloud, and deploy hardware, software, client platforms and field engineer applications.
Describe the main aims for the company
We want to put the best of people and technology at the heart of the built environment. Our aim is to continue to use technology to bring transparency to the maintenance and repair process and enable owners and managers to better understand and capitalise on their buildings. We also want to give back responsibility, time and recognition to lift engineers and empower building engineers with the technology and data to optimise building management.
What inspired you to set up a company within this sector?
I was studying in China and saw the pace of proptech innovation there and I felt there was an opportunity to deploy technology, optimise user experience and accelerate the advent of smart buildings. Looking also at the growth of cities around the world, I felt there was an opportunity to develop and implement a technology that improves and augments the human experience in the built environment, thereby improving living conditions and spaces. While I was there, I also noticed how little diversity there was within this sector. The industry has been dominated by four main players since the start and I felt there was room for innovation. Innovation comes from diversity; in genders, backgrounds, interests, experiences and ages, and that’s a big part of what this industry was missing.
The company recently won the maintenance contract with KeolisAmey Docklands, for London DLR lift and escalator maintenance, how does it feel to win these contracts?
It felt fantastic and it’s an honour to work with KeolisAmey Docklands and support a critical part of London’s transport network, and an iconic symbol of the dockland’s regeneration. At its height prior to lockdown, the DLR accommodated 122.3 million passenger journeys, and we are looking forward to deploying our technology to accommodate similar passenger flows as we come to terms with the Covid crisis.
Who do your engineers have to work closely alongside to ensure that the best system suits the needs of a building?
Our engineers use our smart technology to manage their workload and benefit from performance related pay. They work alongside property and asset managers, procurement teams, and consultants to bring about highly transparent and effective maintenance solutions. Consequently, we reduce the breakdown rate by three which means the customer conversation becomes productive: about how we can add value to the building and build customer experience.
Talk us through one of the most challenging projects the company have worked on so far
KeolisAmeyDocklands is immensely rewarding and an honour to work on. It was also important to show that we could scale up, and supplying our technology solutions to the elevators and escalators on an iconic transport network was a great way of doing that.
What motivates you?
The opportunity to challenge the status quo through innovation. I want to use the tech to empower people on the ground. I think it is the only way to realise smart cities. Construction and property is an exciting sector to innovate in. One of my favourite sayings is. ‘Imagine what you could achieve if you were not afraid.’ I am always looking towards the next challenge, the next horizon, and I will never stop thinking about the new solutions we can bring to the building and construction industry.
What are the plans for the company for the future?
We have just opened a new office in Singapore, which has one of the most sophisticated built environments in the world and have already struck a deal with Singapore public procurement platforms. Looking further ahead, we want to expand globally, particularly into the United States. We also want to invest in IoT research and development and create solutions for all regulated building operations and become the leading global player in the smart building sector.