A recent Frost & Sullivan survey of nearly 2,000 global IT and Telecommunications decision-makers reveals that an astounding 80 to 90 percent of respondents in all industry verticals already use a cloud communications provider. The Unified Communications-as-a-Service (UCaaS) market is growing in part due to the rising demand for VoIP and IP phones in manufacturing industries, according to a recent report. That’s because UCaaS can help improve efficiencies and reduce errors in innumerable ways in manufacturing environments. Similarly, companies are discovering the many beneficial applications of UCaaS in the utilities industry as well.
UCaaS in Manufacturing
UCaaS solutions that integrate with mobile apps can be used in countless ways to improve manufacturing processes. One of these applications would be for asset management. Using a smartphone app with a QR code reader, plant equipment could be scanned in with the swipe of a phone. Through this UCaaS app, a plethora of data is scanned in instantly, updating information on the equipment concerning warranties, maintenance logs, manufacturing dates and more. This tracking ability could save companies time and money as it becomes easier to track assets and more accurately determine replacement and repair needs.
IOT (Internet of Things) Smart Machinery
Manufacturing hardware with sensors that connect to UCaaS apps and an advanced data network could be used in a variety of capacities. For instance, these custom apps could be used with smart phones for reporting, and to extract data from equipment by using it to self-assess its current operational status. UCaaS mobile apps could interface with this machinery to send alerts to shop floor managers and warnings to shop floor workers when a malfunction occurred or has the potential to occur.
Unification of Manufacturing Locations
For most major manufacturing companies, plants are spread out across many locations – sometimes time zones and even continents. So a solution is needed to bring together staff members and relieve communications challenges. Here’s where UCaaS can help. With UCaaS, site managers can communicate through UCaaS platforms like VoiceMaxx CE and Cisco Spark Hybrid. These products offer enterprise-class voice services with instant messaging and presence, audio, video or web conferencing, and integrate with a variety of other collaboration options. Using these tools, floor and plant managers can easily communicate with their peers at other locations to share ideas and concerns, and stay current on outstanding projects.
UCaaS in Utilities
IOT can also be incredibly impactful in common utility applications. Smart-connected devices can communicate using UCaaS across wireless and telephony networks, to process data relating to city lights and traffic cameras. Using this data, lights could be dimmed or turned off when there are no vehicles in the vicinity, to conserve energy and save money. Likewise, cameras and sensors linked to UCaaS apps could be programmed to help vehicles locate available parking spots, eliminating the need for people to drive around aimlessly, wasting time and gas.
Weekly garbage service - a.k.a waste management - is another area where UCaaS can be used to significantly improve current processes. Again, using sensor technology in bins to determine their level of capacity and location, pickups can be scheduled in the most efficient manner, maximizing time and productivity. Sensor technology can also be used to report on water quality and usage and countless other applications - all of which can be reported on via UCaaS interfaces.
Also, managed UCaaS providers are being actively sought out by utilities vendors for their ability to integrate solid security models into their products. As with so many other cyber threats running rampant on the dark web, utility companies are not exempt from this threat. Puerto Rico’s power utility was recently hacked; the threat is real. And U.S. Security officials have been warning that the country’s energy and utility infrastructure is vulnerable to similar attacks – making application security a priority for utility entities. Deploying a UCaaS solution that will safeguard the entire network is a step in the right direction for utilities companies looking to avoid these kinds of attacks.
Utility companies are also using UCaaS with smart grid systems. They use this type of communication to actively monitor data flow between intelligent meters and interpret the data as needed - whether to provide information about outages, details for preventative maintenance or other information pertinent to ensure power for the masses. UCaaS technology is the path through which this collected information flows and is converted into a form that is readable and useful to the skilled technicians interpreting and acting on it.
As should be apparent, the applications and benefits of integrating UCaaS solutions with manufacturing and utility verticals are virtually limitless. In manufacturing, UCaaS can be used for asset management, IOT smart machinery, and to enhance communications between manufacturing locations. In utilities, UCaaS works with smart-connected devices across wireless connections and utilizes apps that integrate with sensor technology to help everyday users with everyday tasks. Security protection offered through UCaaS products can also be implemented to prevent cyber-attacks and to report on malfunctioning equipment or to assist technicians in making adjustments. West has industry-leading UCaaS products that can be interwoven into any vertical, especially in the areas of manufacturing and utilities. So partner with West today to harness the power that comes with UCaaS-integrated solutions.
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