How does MDM help mining companies develop smart mines?
Jun 06, 2022 | 42Gears Team
The mining industry has its own set of challenges including the remoteness of the site(s), hazardous working conditions, and difficulty in achieving real-time access to data. In order to cope with these challenges, companies need to adopt technological innovations and optimize the use of smart devices and endpoints. Innovative technologies that are devised to meet the needs of modern work cultures help provide a suitable and safe working environment to workers and empower them to access real-time data.
Adoption of advanced technologies and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) that involves the deployment of actuators and smart sensors to optimize industrial processes in mining industries is considered ‘smart mining’. When IoT is used in industrial setups, it is referred to as IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things). By using IIoT, smart mines collect a large amount of data that can be analyzed to generate valuable insights on multiple aspects. Based on the insights, appropriate actions can be taken to reduce downtime and increase productivity and performance. Notably, the smart mining market is expected to reach USD 28.05 billion by 2027 with a CAGR of 20.62% in the 2022- 2027 period. The forecasted growth is almost three times compared to 2021 when the smart mining market was valued at USD 9.27 billion (Source: Mordor Intelligence).
However, in order to leverage smart technologies and IIoT, mining companies need to deploy mobile device management (MDM) solutions that can help them remotely manage, monitor and secure all their smart devices and endpoints. Additionally, MDM empowers mining companies to remotely troubleshoot IIoT devices used in smart mines, thereby allowing technicians to avoid on-site visits to hazardous locations.
What is smart mining?
Smart mining is the use of connected technologies, such as sensors, cameras, and drones in the mining industry. These devices connect to each other and to their environments via the Internet. Connecting these devices and endpoints helps in automating processes, connecting various parts in mining sites, simplifying operations, and providing meaningful data to decision-makers. Smart mining helps increase the efficiency of mines, keeping workers safe from hazards and saving costs.
The deployment of IIoT can improve industrial efficiency by connecting endpoints, automating processes, and reducing the need for human labor.
Challenges of smart mining
Although smart mining offers numerous benefits to industries, transforming a mining site into a smart mining site is easier said than done. Let’s explore the challenges it poses in detail:
Provisioning of devices across sites
Smart mines are characterized by the use of advanced technologies and IIoT endpoints across multiple mining sites located in different regions. However, mining companies may face difficulties in provisioning a large and heterogeneous fleet of devices at different locations and the situation is further worsened by the hazardous nature of mining sites. Initial provisioning and setting up of security policies, content, work-related tools, and documents can pose major challenges. In addition to this, businesses may often need to share files, updates, and notices, or make changes in a plan at any time remotely, which is troublesome in such conditions.
Securing corporate data amidst dangerous situations
In a smart mine where thousands of devices operate in a rugged environment, securing corporate data may prove to be quite difficult. Plus, the devices used in these mines are portable and this raises the risk of device theft.
Remote device maintenance and troubleshooting
Devices and endpoints of a smart mine may start malfunctioning at any time. Understanding technical errors and troubleshooting can be hard for mineworkers as they may not be tech-savvy. Additionally, mining companies need to perform device maintenance on a regular basis to avoid sudden downtime. So, in all these situations, device maintenance and troubleshooting may prove to be really tricky for the IT team.
Real-time location tracking
The mining workforce keeps moving across multiple sites or locations with their devices. This makes tracking remote device inventory difficult. Companies look for solutions, such as geofencing, to monitor inventory based on geographical locations. The solutions are expected to provide a detailed report on crucial parameters such as battery consumption, data usage, device activity, and more.
Now that we have discussed the challenges of smart mining, let’s talk about how MDM solutions can help mining companies address these scenarios.
How MDM helps mining companies create smart mining frameworks
Making mine smart brings along a lot of benefits, but it is associated with a lot of challenges as well. MDM solutions can help mining companies deal with these challenges and easily build smart mines. Let’s explore the areas where MDM can be really effective:
Easy device provisioning and sharing of business resources
MDM solutions such as SureMDM help mining companies provision their large fleet of devices in one go irrespective of their location. IT admins can remotely push business files and resources on the devices. By using 42Gears’ SureMDM, companies can manage all their in-house as well as public apps easily.
Securing sensitive corporate data
Securing portable devices and IIoT endpoints in rugged and remote environments is a herculean task. Device loss invites cybercriminals to enter into a business’s network and manipulate sensitive corporate information. In order to protect sensitive data against security threats, SureMDM offers a set of security features that can be configured and pushed to devices within a few minutes. Plus, it also makes configuring network security settings, such as Firewall and VPN, easy. Data can be encrypted and passcode policies can be configured to ensure high levels of data security. Using SureMDM, IT teams can lock devices remotely and wipe data if a device gets lost or stolen.
Preventing mobile and IoT devices from misuse
Mineworkers may sometimes choose to use corporate devices for personal use and get distracted, which may affect their productivity. SureMDM prevents device misuse and related consequences by putting restrictions on device use and restricting employees from accessing games, social networking sites, unapproved applications, and browsers.
Real-time location tracking and monitoring of devices
Real-time location tracking and monitoring of devices that are dispersed in different locations is a real challenge. SureMDM’s GeoFence and TimeFence capabilities allow companies to monitor devices deployed in multiple locations. Device usage policies can be set via SureMDM, which enable automatic monitoring of enrolled devices and sending of notifications to admins in case of non-compliance.
In addition to this, SureMDM can provide admins with detailed reports including data on battery consumption, activity status, data usage, and more.
Smart mines are the future of the mining industry. They offer multiple benefits including worker- safety, data protection, lower monitoring costs, better productivity, and more. Mining companies need to adopt smart and advanced technologies such as IIoT endpoints and mobile solutions in conjunction with MDM solutions such as SureMDM to ensure efficient management of deployed devices in smart mining sites.