A scene we don’t like to see and yes in almost all cases the outcome is nothing more than a disruption in operations and experience for guest to talk about for years to come.
However, the goal of lift maintenance teams at ski areas is to prevent such happenings. The recent expansion and development of AI (Artificial Intelligence) makes one wonder if the ability to do more predictive maintenance will further enable lift maintenance teams to further reduce the likelihood of scenes like this.
I will be bold and say it is right on the cusp of happening. I can share this thought as I am speaking from my own personal experience of being in conversations where this is being discussed and the feasibility is being explored.
My personal experience is based on conversations with Dave Herman and Kurt Castor of Steamboat Ski Corp. Both these individuals are forward thinkers and have consistently demonstrated their ability to look long-term and take steps necessary to gain the advantage in their lift maintenance duties. Under their leadership, the Steamboat lift maintenance team has connected all of their lifts to the network, installed software to read all the sensors on the lifts and collect the data. Their choice was the Ignition system from Inductive Automation. Ignition software is the first truly universal industrial application platform for connecting all your data, and designing and deploying industrial applications throughout an enterprise, without limits.
I was further enlightened by a conversation with a data scientist in Spain. This person is working with DataPeak to create advanced analytics based on ML and DL, within a BIG DATA framework, in the context of ski resorts. Here’s a sample of the thought: A Day in a Ski Resort in the Future. Yes, a bit out there but perfectly imaginable.
My conversation with this scientist revolved around his concept of developing predictive algorithms based on data collected via a system similar to what Steamboat is utilizing currently and then depositing that data in MountainOffice, where the data would be analyzed, stored by component of the lift with work orders written by the system when appropriate to address prediction resulting from the data analysis. No, this will not be available tomorrow, but I can easily see it being available in the not too distant future. Yes, there are big hurdles; the connectivity of each lift to a network or cloud, the cost associated with software such as Ignition, albeit that the cost today here is fairly reasonable.
Exciting stuff, stay tuned. I hope MountainOffice will be part of this next step as it relates to ski lifts. I say this as MountainOffice is the only CMMS dedicated to cable car systems and has a history deep in the cable car industry worldwide.