Contactless Delivery: remote-controlled elevators arrive in Moscow

During a pandemic, elevators in public buildings are a source of potential contagion.

The closed, unventilated spaces keep viruses circulating, and hundreds of hands touch the buttons all day. The SmartAirKey system from Shcherbinsky Elevator Plant gives users hands-free access and heightened security for elevators.


SmartAirKey for residents

The company’s smart elevators are equipped with a controller that receives signals via Bluetooth from an app on the user’s mobile phone that knows the user’s floor and summons the elevator when the user is still as far as 20 meters away. From the user’s point of view, the elevator arrives like magic, opens its door, and travels to the correct floor.

SmartAirKey technology can be integrated with other smart building systems, including controlled entry for residential complexes, handling everything from the entry gate to the call box on each floor. Residents in a building with SmartAirKey can even open the door for delivery people remotely from their smartphones.

“Residential developers can use the technology to create a single entry and security environment. We are confident that our smart elevators are the future in this market. Instead of a bunch of keys and cards, your phone is all you need to walk into your building and use the elevator,” says Shcherbinsky’s chief executive Anton Artemev.

Advantages for developers

First impressions matter: buyers notice everything when they tour a building, from the entry system to the lobby to the brand of elevator. While modern elevator technology is not the only way to sell a future resident on a building, developers cannot afford to ignore the power of a first impression. Smart elevators make life more convenient, and people notice that.

A single square meter of real estate costs more in Moscow than anywhere else in Russia (3.1 times more, to be precise, according to the federal statistics agency). Moscow also has the greatest markup from cost of construction to sales price, so competition is fierce. Smart home solutions are one way a developer can set itself apart and gain an advantage with potential buyers. Smart elevators account for a miniscule percentage of a building’s cost, but they can make a complex more attractive and give it an edge over similar projects.

“Buyers are starting to pay more attention to convenience and technology when they look at apartments,” Artemev says. “Buildings need state-of-the-art technology in order to stay competitive.”

Shcherbinsky Elevator Plant received the grand prize for modern solutions in elevator technology at Russian Elevator Week 2021. Its contactless solutions are compatible with any of the company’s elevators.

Moscow’s elevator industry

Moscow’s four elevator companies manufactured a total of 15,400 elevators last year, up 10.6% from 2019. In addition to providing elevators for local developments, all four companies are looking to compete on quality throughout Russian and abroad. Shcherbinsky is an industry leader, with 220,000 elevators currently in operation in residential and industrial buildings, medical facilities, and special-purpose facilities.

Today, the company manufactures one out of every four elevators in Russia. As a Moscow-based manufacturer, Shcherbinsky has access to a range of support measures offered by the city government, including consulting services from the Mosprom Center for Export Support. The Center helps local companies analyze and choose target markets and develop strong export strategies, and it organizes events where companies can meet with potential buyers.

“At Shcherbinsky, the latest technology is not just in the elevators: it’s also embedded in the process for manufacturing those elevators,” explains Alexander Prokhorov, head of Moscow’s department for investment and industrial policy. “Early last year, Shcherbinsky Elevator Plant overhauled its production line with new automation systems that monitor tool performance and manage the entire process in real time.”

The company’s post-overhaul output is up 30%, with more sustainable production and shorter lead time through continual data collection. Additional output opens up export opportunities, and Shcherbinsky is making plans to export large numbers of elevators and SmartAirKey control systems to the CIS and countries further abroad.