How smart businesses are gaining a competitive advantage using technology

In a world where technology is constantly evolving, savvy businesses must leverage new, intelligent technologies to gain a competitive advantage. Deploying a Mobility-Defined Network that will allow your business to not only improve efficiency across everyday processes but also increase profits, remain cutting edge and offer the best service to your customers is crucial.

Wi-Fi isn’t a new term for this space; in-fact warehouses were one of the first areas that required such a system that could aid in inventory control management. And now, it’s become more important than ever, providing companies with the ability to become smarter and more efficient.

In fact, at the beginning of this year, Gartner released the top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2015 set to infiltrate the workplace and significantly impact organisations over the next three years. A robust Wi-Fi infrastructure is required to support these trends, including; computing everywhere, the Internet of Things (IoT), smart machines and advanced analytics.

Connection speeds between the Wi-Fi infrastructure and Wi-Fi devices have increased rapidly over the past 5 years. If fact it’s possible today for devices using the latest 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard to connect to the network at speeds over 1GBps.

These speeds will further increase in the coming years, which really marks a turning point with the use of Wi-Fi as the primary network access method. Whilst such high speeds are often not required in this sector today there is little doubt that with the proliferation of media rich applications and Ultra High Definition video content (4K video) this will change.

So, what are the latest wireless innovations and how can the humble Wi-Fi connection allow businesses to enhance workplace productivity and overall competitiveness? 

Connection in the toughest Aussie environments 

One of the latest wireless initiatives benefiting the industrial sector is purpose-built wireless Access Points (APs) that are suitable to specific industries within harsh environments. Wireless hardware has come a long way with APs now designed to withstand extreme temperatures, persistent moisture and precipitation, and are fully sealed to keep out airborne contaminants.

When installing a Wi-Fi network within the manufacturing, mining, automotive, or utilities sector, emphasis is placed on the specific environment the business operates within.

For example, a company that stores products in large freezers at all times can install an AP that can withstand cold temperatures so staff can continue to maintain and update stock inventory in the freezer, improving accuracy and efficiency. Installing durable purpose-built APs allows your business to benefit from consistent Wi-Fi, which ensures effectiveness when gathering data and maximises technology use anywhere, anytime.

Cutting the cord

Another advancement in Wi-Fi that has not yet been fully embraced by the industrial sector is the notion of becoming entirely mobile by ‘cutting the cord’. The latest Wi-Fi revolution is cloud-managed wireless, driven by the use of mobile devices and in particular the smartphone.

This network advancement is of particular interest for industrial spaces as it’s simple to install and has low up-front costs.

Cloud-managed wireless is of particular interest for mining sites, the utilities sector and manufacturers that are generally characterised as multi-user environments with various connected mobile technologies. As IoT continues to infiltrate our world, optimising Wi-Fi and the cloud are integral to the fast delivery of information to and from a growing range of devices and machines. 

IoT benefits manufacturers greatly, creating opportunities to capture and interpret data quickly, as well as streamline processes and increase efficiency. Production line monitoring and automation though the use of IoT applications allows manufacturers to make better use of resources and reduce unplanned downtime through predictive maintenance.

Food company King’s Hawaiian is a manufacturing and food production plant that has implemented a variety of connected machines in their bread production factories, allowing employees to monitor factory performance. The data collected by various machines has allowed the business to reduce potential downtime of machines and lower maintenance costs. Having a dependable Wi-Fi network that numerous machines and staff members can rely on is essential, especially in high-density environments within the industrial space.

Eliminating physical obstacles

Mobility continues to be a top priority for the sector, with a wireless infrastructure critical in assisting in the collaboration of staff and processes. Wireless mesh networks are a solution that can provide staff with the ability to access information any time, anywhere.

Providing employees with the access to use mobile scanners, computers, label printers and arcade scanners no matter the location or obstacle is crucial. Mesh networks are resilient, low-maintenance, and the one wireless solution that can overcome line-of-sight issues that may occur when a space is crowded with buildings or dense industrial equipment.

Mesh networks are also utilised in spaces such as outdoor storage yards, ports and terminals, which are often difficult to network because of their geography. Access to such a wireless offering will further support staff productivity and assist in maintaining a competitive advantage. 

A simple and flexible Wi-Fi infrastructure will empower your business to run more effectively, and also increase profits, gain a point-of-difference and provide a unique offering to customers.

Having a wireless system in place that supports the implementation of the latest technology will enhance performance and business outcomes. In an industry that is often complex, choose a wireless provider that is going to suit your business needs eliminate unnecessary time and effort. 

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