Manufacturing Data To the Plant OperatorEarlier this week, I speculated on the future of software and Microsoft especially. Mobile technology and Microsoft’s total lack of ability to get it together is really hurting the company. Not that its enterprise products don’t still dominate.

Kyle Reissner, @Ryzner and a member of the Global Product Management team at GE Intelligent Platforms, wrote to ask me to check out a white paper he’d authored about Facebook for Industry. I was expecting interface. One thing I often note is how new people entering the industry are used to user interfaces that are much cleaner and more intuitive than what we’ve done in the past.

What Kyle really meant was manufacturing data. And how to make sense of all the manufacturing data. He asks, “How does Facebook make sense of all the data and make it simple for users on smartphones?”

Facebook has evolved over the past nine years from a simple list of people filtered by your connections to a massive collective of data, photos, videos, games all backed with complex social algorithms that transform the petabytes of data into information relevant to each user. Now, when you login on your phone, tablet or through your browser, you are served real-time social information in the form of data, photos and ads so relevant to you it’s sometimes scary.

Then he discusses a little bit of how-to:

Facebook’s genius is how the back end systems dynamically adapt to real-time situations with historical intelligence through a simple to use interface. They have basically reorganized the Internet in the backend while maintaining a simple user interface; making Facebook much more than a social network.

And then, what if…

If workers could log into a system via a mobile app with a user interface as
simple as Facebook’s fed by a backend that’s just as intelligent – that would not only unlock them from a stationary terminal, but they’d have real information relevant to them anytime anywhere.

Bringing this up a level, if only 1% of machines within the estimated 30,000 manufacturing sites around the globe were connected and actively sharing data elements – collectively the sum of those industrial Facebook’s would be 7500x the volume that Facebook handles today.

He has a point. Of course, this is what he sells. But so do other companies. Are you asking the right questions of your software rep? Are they offering to help you with this sort of analytics and visibility? Are you pushing them?

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