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Mobile Technology: Is Your Plant Millennial-Friendly?
John Lee,
Senior Manager

The Millennial generation – generally considered to be people who reached adulthood around the beginning of the 21st century – has grown up in a world filled with electronics and increasingly online and socially-networked. They are the first conscious participants in an era when everyone has access to everything, everywhere, at any time. This is the generation of mobile technology, wireless communications, and clouds of continuous content.

Millennials grew up with computers, the Internet, and the graphical user interface (GUI). This familiarity makes them adept at understanding interfaces and visual languages. They tend to adjust readily to new programs, operating systems (OS), and devices and to perform computer-based tasks more quickly than older generations. Although it’s been proven that multitasking is not usually an effective way to work, Millennials may be the employees most likely to pull it off.

As Millennials have moved into the workforce, employers – including industrial manufacturers – have made major shifts and adaptations in their approaches to technology and computing.

Technology-oriented Millennials are also impacting the computing environment and contributing to the increasing stress being placed on enterprise networks. What was once only an asset used to share corporate resources on corporate computers across an organization is today evolving into the means by which qualified employees and customers access needed company information from any place at any time from any device.

To manage the growing need to disseminate information to end users and customers on an on-demand basis, corporate IT organizations are increasingly turning to cloud computing and virtualization. The traditional corporate network is fading as the network of choice; today, employees and customers alike choose to connect to corporate resources through their own personal devices, not only in the office, but remotely over the Internet as well.

As a result, IT departments find themselves creating networks that provide access to all users – on demand – regardless of where they are located or the means they use to access information.

Network Security in an Age of Mobility and Ubiquitous Access

Keeping the network secure and setting priorities on the use of personal hardware is becoming an even more difficult issue for IT departments. The trend toward the increasing accommodation of all types of mobile device access, the use of cloud computing, and the use of virtualization has a momentum of its own. More and more companies find they need to flex and adjust to incorporate these capabilities into their networking business models or else fall behind competitively.

Enter the world of mobility and ubiquitous network access. Imagine a network that can manage input and interfaces from a variety of end users and customers regardless of the type of access.

Imagine also developing an application within the network, which simultaneously acts as a friendly front end while it manages access points and devices. Such an intelligent network will distribute information and applications to the right user at the right time – on demand. It is a sophisticated response mechanism that is always ready, and one that can expand as future requirements demand.

Today’s modern knowledge workers and consumers demand it. It will manage input from a variety of devices and users and do it on demand.

How Industrial Manufacturers Can Meet these Challenges

Though technology changes are creating new challenges for industrial manufacturers, the answer can be found in the development of the mobile solutions.

Mobility can be transformative. It brings more actionable data to the right individuals, provides a clear visibility into operation along with analytics, and provides an effective communication method for user interaction. It can also assist in maintenance rounds, data collection, and commissioning.

As production workflows are automated and the factory is digitized, mobile solutions can help enforce required actions are performed in the correct sequence and data logged and tracked in near real time.

Manufacturers need an experienced partner to help them navigate all of the considerations for mobile applications. Matrix Technologies can provide you the support you need.

Matrix Technologies is one of the largest independent process design, industrial automation engineering, and manufacturing operations management companies in North America. To learn more about our manufacturing operations management capabilities and manufacturing process control solutions, contact John Lee, Strategic Manager of Manufacturing Intelligence.

© Matrix Technologies, Inc.

John Lee
Senior Manager