According to McKinsey recent report, 68% of industrial companies consider digitizing the production value
chain as their highest priority—that means that two-thirds of companies make it a goal to smarten up their business.
In my opinion, the most effective way to achieve that is by introducing indoor positioning, which employs cutting edge IoT technology, advanced hardware and data-processing algorithms for real-time and historical floor monitoring. At the same time, it is easy to deploy and can be used to optimize factories and warehouses. But what is it all about?
The technology of boosting site management
Indoor positioning is like GPS, but for indoor spaces. It requires installing transmitters in a building (like how satellites enable GPS) and sticking trackers to movable assets. The system enables keeping track of, say, trolley or forklift movement, and is a source of relevant information about foot and asset traffic.
The new generation of indoor positioning is increasingly based on ultra-wide band (UWB) technology. UWB is a communication technique using fast-pulse transmission. The introduction of this technology was permitted by Federal Communications Commission that expanded 3.5 Ghz up to 10 Ghz band, which uncovered new opportunities for close-proximity communication and for indoor location services. What more, UWB has low latency time, which means that it can be refreshed rapidly, even 10 times per second. This gives algorithms more location points to analyze so the collected data is more accurate.
Even more importantly, it can be used in multiple ways.
Indoor positioning brings transparency to production processes
Indoor-location data helps decision-makers provide operational transparency, and therefore create a more efficient manufacturing system with less production downtime and a better ability to predict and adjust to changes in a site. With the support of indoor positioning, manufacturers can successfully modernize buildings while increasing profits thanks to cutting costs and data-driven lean management.
And it’s not just about economic factors. The data can show the activity of teams and shifts, so it can be used to standardize employees’ work cycles and ensure effective onboarding and staffing decisions. Indoor-traffic data can predict operational and material inefficiencies and identify areas for further improvements. Simply put: with indoor-positioning tools, industrial processes become faster and safer.
Better flow and fewer anomalies
These systems aid in the prevention of anomalies or seasonal changes that appear in plants. They improve safety and help with identifying potential threats or detecting unwanted presence in restricted areas or those requiring special permissions. In case of emergency, indoor-positioning system can be used to verify if everyone managed to leave the building. To support evacuations, it indicates the current location of those still within a facility.
Smart floor monitoring changes everything
Imagine an emergency situation in which an employee cannot do his job properly because the forklift he shares with his colleague is occupied. With indoor positioning and its analytical features, employees can easily check the real-time availability of machines and search the exact parking spots.
Or think of a truck arriving at the factory an hour late. Thanks to indoor positioning you can give the delivery company a report with the collected data about delays, and then negotiate better delivery conditions or simply change the supplier.
Additionally, having in-depth traffic statistics and heat maps, logisticians are able to define hours of the highest demand for, say, trolleys. You can then adjust the number of trolleys to your actual needs, so there are no additional delays.
For managers in the industrial space, deploying such technology is a highly beneficial step into the digital era. The possibilities of indoor positioning are innumerable, dependent only on your company’s portfolio and unique needs.
Grzegorz Koblański is the CEO of Indoorway.