Find the value of tablets on your plant floor
"Get ahead of the curve," Syclo's Kleban suggests at Mobile Conference.
The smartphone has answered all the questions about whether it would ever become more than just another portable multimedia time-waster capable of little more than surfing the Internet, exchanging pictures, and playing Angry Birds. It can do all of that, of course, but the smartphone has become a vital tool for manufacturers, connecting maintenance professionals with their next task and keeping distant parts of a plant in closer communication with voice, data, and images. In the process, smartphones have made the traditional walkie-talkie just about obsolete.
“Tablets will do the same thing for clipboards,” said Jeff Kleban, executive vice president for alliances for Syclo Inc., at last week’s Syclo Mobile Conference in Chicago. Kleban opened the second day of the conference with a look at how this latest hardware device is being adopted by manufacturers in all kinds of enterprises.
“The whole mobility issue is about the consumer, not about the enterprise,” Kleban said. “The tablet is really attractive to smartphone users, because they already know the operating system.” It’s the rise in the use of smartphones by an older demographic that got the business potential for tablets in front of software developers. “Every other American will own a smartphone,” Kleban said. “We’re not only seeing smartphone use among Gen X and Gen Y. There’s a huge adoption by those over 45. Right now, 28% of smartphone users are over 45. There comes a point when if you didn’t use one, you start to get isolated from people who do. “The biggest issue isn’t whether technology works; it’s will they use it,” he added. “These folks have made the investment. It’s that one experience that will provide real value to them. Now from the bottom up, they’re willing to embrace change.”
Tablets are the next logical extension from the smart phone—a bigger screen but essentially the same functionality as a smartphone, regardless of the current platform being used—Apple, Android, Windows, or BlackBerry. For the maintenance staff, the tablet also can deliver such new technology as Augmented Reality, where overlays of a particular device can show up on the screen, along with menus and information on what parts or tools might be needed for repairs.
“The question is, how do we link together the enterprise? Where do tablets fit into the enterprise?” Kleban said. “It’s good to get ahead of curve. Where would tablets be of value to the organization? Someone else will make the choice for you. This is a chance to get ahead in the tablet market.”
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Annual Salary Survey
Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.
There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.
But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.
Read more: 2015 Salary Survey