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Mobile Millennials Could Change the Face of Manufacturing

June 12, 2015

IIoT technology is beginning to free workers from fixed-location HMIs and desktop computers -- something the connected generation will heartily embrace.

If you wanted to look at the growth of the Industrial IoT (IIoT) as a bulls eye, or perhaps the rings on a tree, the center rings would be fixed users – the one billion PCs currently connected to the internet – which were the initial devices that had access to IIoT technology. The next set of rings moving outward would be the three billion mobile devices currently beginning to make use of IIoT innovations. And the next rings after that will be sensors and the other “things” that make up the ever-increasing list of connected devices.

Tablets are big and bulky hardware in the pantheon of today’s mobile devices. Photo credit: TechniBlend Inc.

For now, let’s focus on that second ring containing mobile devices. In his article, “IoT Meets Food and Beverage Manufacturing” in Food Processing, managing editor Kevin Higgins explains that where these mobile devices make a real impact is in their ability to “uncouple plant personnel from HMIs and desktop computers and put real-time data in the palms of technicians, managers and other personnel.”

The article goes on to explain that this new independence has an especially freeing effect on Millennials. Saadi Kermani, product manager for SmartGlance, Schneider Electric’s enabling technology to link plant controls to mobile devices, pointed out that Millennials now outnumber baby boomers in the U.S. workforce. “They don’t need an office or IT support, they just need to know the job expectations and an app,” he said.

The impact this ability to disconnect from fixed-location devices will have on manufacturers can only be guessed at this point. But, based the growing list of connected devices already being offered, we can expect the level of change to be epic. 

You can read Higgins' article on the Food Processing site