Nicolas El Khal, Managing Director of KONE UAE, Oman and Bahrain talks to GineersNow TV about their latest services and innovative solutions.
About the Leader, Nicolas El Khal
Nicolas El Khal is the Managing Director for UAE, Oman and Bahrain at KONE Middle East. With 15 years of industry experience, of which 7 years were spent at KONE, El-Khal is responsible for the overall P&L of KONE’s business in three countries as well as customer management, employee safety and business development.
Previously, Nicolas El Khal worked at ThyssenKrupp for a period of 5 years, where he started as a Project Manager before assuming the role of Branch Manager – Abu Dhabi. In this capacity, he took complete responsibility for the general management of all activities in the Abu Dhabi office.
Nicolas El Khal started his career in the elevator and escalator industry as a Project Manager for Mitsulift Group in Beirut in 2004.
Along with an Executive MBA received from London Business School in 2012, Nicolas El Khal holds a Master’s degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from the Lebanese University in Beirut. Nicolas El Khal is fluent in Arabic, English, French.
KONE in the Middle East
KONE’s operations are divided into five areas
- KONE Middle East and Africa has approximately 2,300 active employees (YTD). This includes field and operational staff
- The highest amount of employees within the Middle East are located Saudi Arabia, UAE and Qatar
How is the Middle East different from the other markets?
- KONE is one of the largest leaders in the region.
- Our largest markets here are UAE, KSA, and Egypt (respectively).
- It is a region that is home to large number of high rise projects. There is a lot of construction going on which represents new opportunities to increase our market penetration.
What are the biggest changes in the market?
- Two major megatrends: urbanization and technological disruption.
- Estimates tell us that around 200,000 people move into cities across the globe each and every day, which is the equivalent of 140 people every minute.
- Technological disruption drives change and means a faster pace of business and new expectations for ways of working. New technology gives us a great opportunity to serve our customers in smarter and more exciting ways. Any small saving in energy consumption of equipment would create a greater impact on the aggregate on a global level.
Has the introduction and enforcement of green codes and solutions in the market meant KONE has had to adapt or modify its offerings?
- KONE’s environmental policy is to provide innovative, safe, high-quality and environmentally efficient products and services.
- We work with our suppliers and customers to increase environmental awareness and minimize our operational carbon footprint as well as improve energy, material, and water efficiency.
- KONE manufactures its products in compliance with the latest green-codes, ISO2545, to deliver the latest eco-efficient solutions to the customer.
- The enforcement of these codes in the market did not require any modification to KONE’s existing products.
Has there been an increase in eco-friendly people flow solutions?
- Customers are aware of the importance of green-friendly products in for example helping with cost of operations.
What are your major projects in the region currently?
- UAE: WOW Hotel and Hotel Apartments, Four Seasons Hotel Abu Dhabi, ICD Brookfield Place (supplying 46 elevators and 5 escalators)
- KSA: Riyadh Metro
- Qatar: Doha Metro
KONE and innovation
- We have been innovating for more than 100 years, and KONE has changed the industry with MonoSpace, UltraRope and now 24/7 Connected Services.
- Our technological breakthroughs are shaping the future of high-rise living and making the unthinkable, possible.
- KONE’s rich experience in developing and analyzing the flow of people in various buildings has helped in knowing how to move people conveniently inside large destination hubs.
What was the role of digitization in keeping and attracting new customers?
- New technology gives us a great opportunity to learn new ways of working and serve our customers in smarter and more exciting ways.
- What is important is that the technology enables customer benefits. The technology is not a solution itself.
How important is sustainability for KONE?
- Increasing resource efficiency is among KONE’s top priorities.
- KONE analyses and adapts to the ever-evolving needs of urban populations by lowering environmental impact from vertical movement.
- KONE has developed several products that reflect its commitment to eco-efficient and sustainable solutions: KONE MonoSpace® 500 (machine-room-less volume elevator), KONE ECODISC® MOTOR (copper winding system that reduces the amount of energy lost as heat)
- KONE is the first company to achieve the best A-class energy efficiency classification for an elevator installation, according to the ISO 25745.
- KONE’s current machine-room-less volume elevator, KONE MonoSpace® 500, is up to 90% more energy efficient than our elevators from the 1990s.
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