By Bloomberg Business Week

The Kingdom Tower in Jeddah would be the first of a breed of ultra-tall buildings to exceed 900 metres in height. That’s more than twice as tall as New York’s Empire State Building.

 Empire State Building
Empire State Building

United Technologies’ Otis Elevator, Switzerland-based Schindler Group and Finland’s Kone are racing to perfect technologies ranging from stronger brakes to smarter software to move elevator riders more efficiently and capture the market.

“We’ve become the bottleneck of the super-high-rise building,” said Johannes de Jong, director of projects and technology at Kone, which supplied the elevators in the 601-metre Makkah Clock Royal Tower in Mecca and the 509-metre Taipei 101 tower in Taiwan, the world’s second and third-tallest buildings.

“We are definitely verging on technology that will allow buildings to be higher,” he said.

At Kone’s test facility in Lohja, Finland, built 300 metres down a limestone mine, the company is tackling a problem more familiar to frequent flyers than elevator riders. More info