"Lifts are at the centre of our civilisation"
Conditions on the planet are developing in a dramatic and alarming manner. Human population is growing without restriction. By the end of the century it may have reached twelve billion people with over four billion in Africa. This would be almost four times as much of the current population size on this continent.
Global development in the sense described are primarily driven by the explosion of the world population, which in turn results in the concentration of people in cities: the megatrend urbanisation. In the coming decades, over two-thirds of people will live in cities, relatively densely concentrated, because none other than this kind of accommodation of so many people in association with the diverse service expectations of the modern world is possible.
Buildings accomodate whole localities
At the hotspots of this development, the so called global cities, the dimensions involved not only exceed ten million people per city, but the concentration is also moving increasingly upwards. Building heights increasingly often reach 100 meter, sometimes even several times this. Today individual buildings accommodate as many people as whole localities used to. Cities are three-dimensional structures. Our future will be decided in them.
The role of cities must be seen against this background. Due to the rapid growth in the world’s population and the associated massive urbanisation, the role of cities for future development is crucial. The property sector is not only of central importance within the city for the quality of life, but also in terms of energy and the climate. Ensuring a stable future in all of these areas requires astute action.
Overcoming the third dimension
The lift industry is positioned in the context described. It is an extremely important industry, like cars and aircraft, even if many fail to realise this. In this regard the industry is far from being as prominent as it could be. In overcoming the third dimension it achieves something that otherwise only aircraft does. As a means of local transport, the lift replaces cars and public transport for thousands of people in highrise buildings.
Buildings are now so high that only extreme athletes can master their height on foot, let alone older people, the handicapped or when it comes to transporting heavy loads. For the number of people in the world everyday life without highrise buildings is inconceivable and highrise buildings cannot work without lifts. In short, our modern life is simply impossible without lifts.
Hence lifts are at the centre of our civilisation. They are miracle-machines, endlessly impressive, high-tech, "sexy.” It would be important for the industry to publicise this better. Just like the chip company Intel pointed out the central importance of Intel chips as the heart of personal computers with the brilliant slogan "intel inside” and as mathematics now point to the vital role it plays in modern civilisation with "mathematics inside”, the lift industry should position itself massively with the slogan "lifts inside” with the clear message "Without lifts no high buildings and as a result no modern civilisation.”
Why is it important for the lift industry to do this? It is a matter of people’s enthusiasm, investors’ enthusiasm, but above all about outstanding and enthusiastic employees. Unlike the financial sector or for example consultancy, the lift industry involves the real economy, technical progress, physical goods that are tangible.
This is a work environment that challenges people in their totality. Head and gut, eye and hand – humans as "Leonardo figures.” And there are many people who want to work in such an environment. There are evidently great, untapped opportunities available for a much better positioning of this fantastic industry.
Prof. Dr. h.c. Franz Josef Radermacher (University of Ulm (Germany), Institute for Data Bases / Artificial Intelligence and FAW/n (Research Institute for Applied Knowledge Processing/n))