It is easy to determine that something may be wrong with a building’s elevator when it stops running; but by this time, it’s already an inconvenience for facilities managers and would-be passengers alike – if not also a liability.With today’s increasingly fast-paced work environment and the continued trend towards immediacy, more and more pressure is placed on building owners and managers to maintain an operation that is safe, reliable, and available for its tenants. People aren’t the only ones expected to work smarter and faster; buildings are, too. There is no such thing as system “downtime” anymore. The good news is that new technologies are providing building owners with fast and intelligent responses to vertical transportation disruptions, emergencies, and performance issues – not to mention more efficient maintenance capability.In response to growing demands for convenience, today’s technological advancements allow for more reliable, easier-to-maintain building transport systems. As the number of equipment components increases, however, so does the need for a highly developed predictive and preventive maintenance system to manage these components.A remote monitoring system is an example of a sophisticated preventive maintenance system that can detect nonconformance and changes in the performance of transport systems. Developments in remote monitoring keep downtime to a minimum whereby all units in a building can be supervised and controlled in real time. Operating parameters are monitored and recorded, and statistical reports facilitate the efficient management of all components.Remote monitoring can detect many circumstances and conditions that may cause transport service disruption before it occurs. The application utilizes highly skilled and thoroughly trained technicians using advanced technologies to monitor an elevator system around the clock – if there is an interruption of service, the technician will know about it within minutes. An onboard system that can identify changes in performance, locate the problem, and inform a technician immediately will reduce downtime, improve response time, and decrease liability.If a problem is detected, the remote monitoring system immediately dials its technical assistance “intelligence” center for review and assessment. The center creates a diagnostic plan to mitigate the problem and communicates it in real time electronically back to the remote monitoring system. The center will send detailed information about the issue along with the diagnostic plan to a technician. This allows the technician to be dispatched quickly to the customer’s location, thus decreasing the downtime of an elevator. If the issue can be addressed remotely, the technician can contact the building owner to assist in returning the elevator to normal service. High-quality, technologically enhanced preventive elevator maintenance is essential and provides owners peace of mind in knowing that their elevators are being monitored for reliable operations at all times.Joseph Knolmajer is manager of remote monitoring at Morristown, NJ-based Schindler Elevator Corp. ( www.us.schindler.com).