Oh, the Places You Will Go, Part II

Imagine your most important piece of automation equipment, injection molding machine, label printer, etcetera. What happens if it goes down mid-day, and you must try to explain by phone to the service tech what is happening so he or she can determine what is wrong, what parts are not working, if an onsite visit is needed, of if you just need a minor tweak. Today, with wireless networking present in a large percentage of mid-sized to Enterprise manufacturing facilities, why not Skype/FaceTime/Hangouts/Tango video call with the service techs and actually let them see what is going on? The wireless throughput is there, and with the ever-increasing resolution on cameras within rugged tablets and handhelds, you can literally be face-to-face with the issue and the solution in a matter of minutes.

As a recovering printer technician, I can testify to usually being able to hear what the problem is with a printer, so I can imagine how great it would be to see the problem.

The type of tablet you choose is of no consequence to me. You’ll quickly find out that “you get what you pay for” always rings true, especially on a concrete shop floor where you’ll probably only need to learn the hard way one time. I do prefer rugged tablets; you know a tablet is going to take a tumble when the user is climbing around a robotic welder or scaling walls. Just like a good photographer, it’s all about the angle. If our clients can get to precisely where the problem is with a 5-8 megapixel webcam, the chances of correctly diagnosing the problem the first time around increases dramatically. I don’t want to pay next day delivery for a part if it is not needed, or worse, pay for a tech’s labor and travel expenses if the problem can be fixed by wiggling a wire.

If tablets can make video calls from a plane, and the tablet in my garage can help me keep an eye on my cats while I am away, imagine what a little “tablet computing” can do for your operational uptime. See, I did it again.

The takeaway: video calling isn’t just for the boardroom. It is ideal for increasing productivity. And solving problems in real time while reducing down time. And dinner time. Meow.

Related Posts