You may not think about it much when you’re not at work, but automation plays a role in everyone’s day-to-day life, regardless of their profession.
This morning, my alarm went off on my smartphone, whose components were once brought together in an automated application on a factory floor. Then it was time for that sweet caffeine elixir that was shipped to us from a distribution center, which is likely facing even more automated processes than usual due to consumer demand. WiFi ensured I could safely work from home, while the service provider’s automated troubleshooting does its best with a grid that’s overloaded thanks to that WFH life and distance learning (hey there, 2020).
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
All of those modern conveniences are in my life from automated applications. It’s not something I thought much about before I started working at ProSoft, but now it’s easy to see automation’s influence everywhere.
Outside of automation companies, the processes involved are sometimes assumed to be only on the plant floor. While those applications abound, there are plenty of others that involve utilities or remote equipment located hours away. Automated applications vary, but they all have one technology in common: wireless communications.
A variety of industries leverage automation to create efficiencies, increase capacity, and reduce risk. Wireless technologies – in a few different forms – help ensure that those automated applications operate as planned. Real-time signals help increase productivity and safety.
Different types of wireless technologies each play a role in how automation is seen in day-to-day life:
∙ WLAN: 802.11 radios help make sure that automated guided vehicles and other equipment used in logistics applications are accurately tracked. This is especially key now as consumer demand has increased, highlighting the need for quick delivery of online orders – and streamlined facility movements to match.
∙ Cellular: Cellular communication is ubiquitous at this point – a major reason for its use in everything from smartphones to industrial remote access. That reliable avenue to real-time connectivity – regardless of WiFi status – allows us to do anything from looking up takeout options on Yelp to sending an SMS to a PAC.
∙ Wireless I/O: WIO systems help utilities automate signal collection, ensuring equipment is working as it should. When residential water services or power availability stay steady, automated data collection has been behind the scenes.
This is the first part of our latest blog series, focused on how wireless is used across a few automated applications. Make sure to join us in the next couple of months as we explore how this reliable technology is used in factory automation, water and wastewater applications, the food and beverage industry, and logistics facilities.