Prior to the pandemic, manufacturing as an industry was in the process of adopting Industry 4.0 technologies such as robotics, automation, augmented reality/virtual reality (AR/VR), additive manufacturing (3D printing), and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). This trend has accelerated due to recent market shocks impacting supply chains, and manufacturers that can adapt quickly will have a competitive advantage. With that in mind, let’s take a look at three ways the Meraki platform helps facilitate digital transformation in manufacturing.
Harness Wi-Fi 6 and 6E for IIoT
With more factories embracing IIoT, everything from robots to forklifts to tooling carts are being connected to networks. This connectivity centralizes control, increases visibility, and leverages analytics to improve efficiency, reduce downtime, and make smarter predictions.
With so many wireless devices requiring network access, providing a strong Wi-Fi 6 foundation is critical to ensuring consistent and high-performance IIoT deployments. Wi-Fi 6 has the potential to increase average throughput per user by a factor of four, enabling manufacturers to fully harness the promise of IIoT.
Manufacturers can get even more power out of their networks with Wi-Fi 6E, which expands Wi-Fi into the 6 GHz spectrum. Wi-Fi 6E provides more connections, more efficient traffic management, and enhanced security with WPA3, among other benefits.
Monitor smart factories with environmental sensors
Sensor technologies have allowed manufacturers to take advantage of big data to improve processes, predict failure, and ultimately improve the efficiency of modern smart factories. Environmental sensors (indoor temperature/humidity, indoor leak, door open/close) can provide real-time remote visibility and monitoring to help protect assets and facilities 24/7.
Beyond the factory floor, sensors can ensure that critical IT infrastructure uptime is maintained and can help regulate temperature to reduce energy costs and lower an organization’s carbon footprint to meet sustainability targets.
Secure, protect, and monitor key assets with smart cameras
Manufacturers need visibility into production to ensure quality control, mitigate product loss, and enforce workplace safety. Smart cameras securely provide useful insights into on-site processes, decreasing costs and improving operational efficiencies.
Paired with third-party apps, smart cameras can inspect production lines for quality control, monitor warehouses for inventory loss, assure workers have correct PPE, and read license plates for fleet control. Smart cameras provide manufacturers with the tools they need to help manage their workspace.
The network has always been about providing connectivity. Without a strong foundation of connectivity, manufacturers will be slow to adopt Industry 4.0 technologies to support factory modernization.
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