Industry. Energy. Manufacturing. All of these oil the wheels of modern commerce. But sometimes the large organisations providing these essential services can find themselves on the back foot when it comes to keeping their IT infrastructure up-to-date.

Overhauling IT infrastructure in an industrial environmentWhy? Because IT and telecoms systems aren’t easy to upgrade in the sorts of locations you tend to find large scale industrial premises – such as power stations, laboratories, factories, and any other multi-site manufacturing facilities.

There can be no doubt that an increasing number of small and medium enterprises and companies that rely on technology to deliver products and services are adopting cloud-based solutions, data storage, and IP telecoms systems.

But owing to their size, purpose, and often their remoteness – in addition to security concerns – it’s often the case that large industrial companies continue to use legacy systems. Not only that, but the requirements of organisations like these are often very different to those of SMEs.

Infrastructure Challenges

For example, there’s less need for remote working when all operations take place on a factory floor. And because a lot of activity takes place on a constant basis, earmarking some downtime for planned maintenance isn’t really an option. Similarly, when there’s no defined or separate office area – such as in a working laboratory – disruption can be seen as detrimental.

Add to that dangers like electromagnetic radiation, close proximity between potentially dangerous equipment, noise, humidity, heat, and the fact mobile phones often don’t work in these kinds of locations, and the scale of the challenges becomes clearer.

However, as technology-driven leaps and bounds are being made in a number of different areas – such as automation, analysis, monitoring, and data collation – organisations that don’t have the infrastructure needed to take advantage of them will miss out.

Helping Industry Update

As we see it, IT and communications should be at the very heart of every enterprise – large or small. It’s just a matter of being able to develop the right systems, tools, and processes that will benefit all concerned in the short and long term.

At MobilityWorks, our expertise lies in helping large organisations embrace a new world of communication technology. After all, the need for clear and present communications in these environments is arguably even more critical than in a standard office environment.

Last year, we migrated a power plant’s telecoms system from an existing solution which had used the phone system for 60 years! The challenge here was that it still worked. Kinda (about half of the system was still operational). It was as functional as the team thought it needed to be. They simply hadn’t realised that it could work in such a radically different – yet ultimately – beneficial way.

Of course, the way in which we approach projects like this is a crucial part of the process. A top down management-driven initiative needs careful implementation.

We always approach each task from a user perspective; to understand how we can improve things for employees, keeping them involved in the process at every step. In this way, there are no surprises, and we’re able to add value from the get-go.

Ultimately, change in industry – given the huge costs of implementation involved – is never looked upon lightly. But the truth is, there’s an urgent need to futureproof IT systems sooner rather than later.

Not doing so will only incur a greater financial cost, safety risks – and culture shock – when the infrastructure that’s winding down now stops working altogether.