How will digital technologies and the IoT be embraced in the future?

13 January 2017

Last month Interlate’s Director of Strategy, George McCullough, facilitated a group discussion at the Austmine End of Year networking event in Brisbane.

The topic of the discussion was the Internet of Things (IoT) and digital technology in general. There were representatives of both mining and METS companies in the group.

The focusing question was: “How will digital technologies and the IoT be embraced in the mines of 2026? What do we need to do now to effect that change?” Here are the group’s observations.

For the IoT and digital technologies to make the most impact in the mining sector, mining and METS companies must:

1 – Ensure that IoT solutions are delivered per value-driven roadmaps. Frequently in mining, technology can be perceived as a “magic wand” that fixed everything but people lose sight of what actual problem needs to be solved and what value is created by solving it.

2- Apply IoT and digital technology initiatives to areas that have already reached a required maturity or stability or they could have unintended negative consequences e.g. reducing productivity because of the overload on people’s ability to absorb change. 

3- Learn from the past and deliver IoT type solutions in smaller, incremental “parcels”. These can build on from each other with each success. In the words of one of the participants: “Let’s not destroy the promise of IoT in mining by trying to ‘boil the ocean’ (taking on something so big that it runs out of energy and resources before it can demonstrate success).

4 -Give people the permission and space to collaborate. The impact of IoT disruption could be substantial and the effort required in managing this change should not be underestimated. A new collaboration framework could make business processes less brittle to IoT initiatives.