You Really Can Use Mobile Devices in the Plant

You Really Can Use Mobile Devices in the Plant

Anyone with a smartphone or tablet now can connect securely in an industrial setting to access performance metrics and data analytics.

By Kyle Reissner, mobility platform leader, Rockwell Automation

You can use any digital device to easily access performance metrics and data analytics from your plant floor and machines.

How are you using that freedom?

Your smartphone is now as powerful as your desktop. That mobility is more than viewing a webpage or report on your tablet; it's a fundamental shift in how we live our lives.

Seventy percent of us carry a smartphone or tablet into the office. We are mobile.

Yet many of us still live as if the world is flat. You know the analogy. For thousands of years people lived like they would fall off the edge of the earth if they ventured too far from what they knew. Then we realized the world is a sphere, and that opened a world of possibility.

Since the 1980s, we've used the Purdue Enterprise Reference Architecture to define clear layers between systems. Our first shot at mobility was the replicate a web browser in a Palm Treo. It was a good start, but it fell short of the ultimate user experience.

Some people are using the latest devices to extend 20-year-old technology. That type of mobility is resulting in very small increases in productivity, in the range of 1 to 2%.

I suggest a loftier goal for mobility —10% — and for everyone in the plant, not just one or two people.

It's possible because we now have the technology that lets people do things they couldn't do before while reducing the cost of curiosity to literally zero.

Now, anyone with a device can connect securely, expand their area of influence, deploy a system more quickly and achieve quicker time to value.

I call that the fourth dimension of mobility. It's thinking outside the spherical world, to the place where we get mobile productivity to everyone with zero friction — download and go. Every role. Every day.

When you drive usage of data across your organization for frictionless productivity, when you move between devices seamlessly, and when you are more responsive, that's how you bring productivity improvement into double digits.

With your smart device, you can move across the layers and move beyond the Purdue model, into the fourth dimension.

It's a one-app strategy. Your smartphone becomes your server and your client. Coupling intelligence software with mobile applications allows you to access data, and personalize and share it for new levels of collaboration and productivity — beyond anything you've imagined.

Join Rockwell Automation in the fourth dimension and follow its mobile technology developments on Twitter: @project_stanton.

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