As the workforce transitions to a younger generation more in tune with digital devices, employees expect to receive data in familiar contexts - and for the next generation, that means graphical data presented on portable devices.

Expect the same to happen in manufacturing.

When deploying IP-based solutions to enable mobility, you must consider the users of the information. In particular, three job titles should pay close attention to how mobility can impact the manufacturing environment.

If you're in IT... The main consideration is around security and access. Your network architecture must ensure that it can support and secure multiple operating systems and devices within the manufacturing enterprise. Consider using open industrial protocols like EtherNet/IP when looking to simplify, and secure real-time transmission of data from industrial devices in a manufacturing setting to your users' mobile devices of choice.

If you're in maintenance... Mobility can give you timely notifications and real time information that can be used to avoid issues on the plant floor. Providing a more proactive platform for maintenance operations, as well as deliver paperless maintenance documentation that's intuitive and easy to track. (No more burning calories running back and forth from the shop and plant!) Write a wish list of data you'd like to get that you're not getting or that you'd like to get faster. Think about what you wish you knew about your machines. Then meet with management and your machine suppliers to pull together a plan on how to drive mobility in your operations.

If you supervise production... Your 24/7, always-on responsibilities require knowing what's going on in production - locally, nationally or globally. Mobility gives you anytime, anywhere on any device access to real-time data that helps you direct operations and optimize production. Getting information in real time that's simple to analyze enables faster response and the ability to make more informed and intelligent decisions.

The benefits of mobility that you see in commercial environments are quickly extending into manufacturing - and taking full advantage of them means catering to the unique needs of each type of user.