The Middle East’s construction landscape has changed dramatically during the past two years. As the lacklustre oil price continues to fan the flames of project uncertainty, the region’s elevator manufacturers and support professionals have had to regroup in order to maintain growth levels.

One of the most significant influencing factors has been lower levels of elevator-related demand from the traditionally strong residential tower segment. Indeed, the delivery performance of the Middle East’s high-rise sector in 2016 goes some way towards explaining why manufacturers are looking for fresh revenue channels.

Nine towers of 200m or above were completed in the GCC last year, the same number as in 2015. However, for the first time in a decade, the wider region failed to deliver a supertall structure taller than 300m.

Encouragingly, the Middle East’s elevator and people-flow specialists haven’t taken this news lying down. The following Special Report addresses a multitude of topics, including People Flow Intelligence (PFI) systems, elevator demand, maintenance, and security within the region’s built environment.

In this week’s market overview (page 20), Thyssenkrupp Elevator and Toshiba Elevator and Building Systems outline current levels of demand, and explain how they have begun to serve new markets in order to complement their traditional residential sales.

In the last 12 months, Thyssenkrupp has enjoyed significant success catering to a number of the Middle East’s transport infrastructure megaprojects, including Riyadh Metro, Doha Metro, and even New Istanbul Airport. Meanwhile, Toshiba – a company famed for supplying Taipei 101’s ultra-high-speed elevator systems – has taken the decision to remove itself from the race to develop the world’s fastest elevator. Instead, the manufacturer is focussing on high-capacity models tailored for mass transit systems.

And this flexible approach is not confined to elevator manufacturers. In the Special Report’s maintenance and security focus (page 24), Adeeb Group and Axis Communications explain how they have tailored their services and products to cater to underserved building owners and operators in the Middle East.

Similarly, Haydon MEP tells Construction Week how it has developed a suite of people-flow systems that not only enhance the efficiency and productivity of buildings, but also have the capacity to improve guest experiences within the hospitality sector, and the safety and security of educational institutions (page 26).

But taking centre stage is this week’s Knowledge Partner editorial (page 22), which outlines how regional owners and operators can use PFI to enhance the productivity of both new-build and existing structures. David Jones from Construction Week’s Knowledge Partner, Kone, explains how the manufacturer is helping clients across the Middle East to optimise and secure their assets and investments.

The challenges facing our region’s elevator and people-flow professionals are real, but so too is their ambition to drive growth through innovation. The following Special Report is testament to both their ability and willingness to adapt.