Rarely are we left in a state of wonder. What's the weather forecast for tomorrow? Check the app on your iPhone. Who was victorious in the latest World Cup match? Google it on your tablet – or better yet launch the FIFA world cup app and be enabled to choose the alerts you want to get, share with your friends and follow the games live!
Socially, we're never far away from text or email. Professionally, with respect to email, portable devices have essentially replaced the desktop and provide apps so intuitive that information is always at our fingertips and natural to get.
But in industry we're locked into a mentality that if we simply secure access to view existing industrial systems on a tablet or smartphone – this is being ‘mobile.' If you're using mobile tools as just a way to view existing systems and information, you're missing out on mobility's true value.
Rather than simply seeing existing systems from a new, must-have device, mobile technology should help us do things in a new way and enable users like never before
Don't get me wrong, mobile access to existing systems is a good first step. But the true value of being mobile is when it's user centric, tailored for each person, accessible from anywhere, and above all, gives users ‘mobile first' designed apps with solutions that empower them to make decisions and handle situations like never before. So rather than doing what you've always done by accessing existing systems, think about mobility as a way to transform what you and your users do.
What that transformation looks like for a maintenance supervisor or an engineer or a production manager varies. All of these people consume information, but what they need, how and when they need it and how we enable them differ substantially.
As I explained in my talk at RSTechED 2014, mobility and all of its power is at the heart of FactoryTalk® VantagePoint EMI (for Enterprise Manufacturing Intelligence) released earlier this year. The 6.0 release includes FactoryTalk VantagePoint Mobile and features built-in mobility to enable users differently than ever before no matter if they are using a desktop, laptop, tablet or a smartphone – and take products where they've never been to solve problems you couldn't solve before.
And we're just getting started…
In the talk I also outline visionary examples of how mobility can increase productivity in manufacturing – each one is transformational and drives huge productivity increases. Here at Rockwell Automation, we're looking at new applications that can increase productivity not by 1-2 percent but by 10 percent. That's the journey we're on as the Connected Enterprise goes mobile.