Mining industry ‘poised for rapid IoT adoption’

The mining industry is poised for massive Internet of Things (IoT) adoption as it seeks to eliminate workplace hazards, new research suggests.

A report by mobile satellite firm Inmarsat revealed that the health and safety of staff stands to be one of the biggest beneficiaries of the mining industry’s move towards automation and IoT.

The IoT is set to play an increasingly important role in helping mining companies meet their obligations to their staff, governments, the environment and shareholders. Indeed the report found that, despite low current levels of IoT deployment in the mining industry, 40 per cent of organisations have plans to deploy IoT solutions within the next 18 months.

Health and safety emerged as the area in which mining respondents expect to see the most benefits from these deployments, with almost half (44 per cent) expecting IoT to drive improvements to the health and safety of staff.

Improving health and safety also emerged as a key driver for IoT deployment, with 43 per cent ranking it as a primary objective for their IoT strategy, just behind monitoring environmental changes (47 per cent) and improving cost effectiveness (44 per cent).

Joe Carr, director of mining at Inmarsat Enterprise, said: “The mining sector has worked over many years towards an industry-wide commitment of Zero Harm. Mines are a uniquely specialised, hazardous environment and as such miners are highly focused on employee safety. IoT solutions can play a significant role by remotely monitoring conditions and gathering data to anticipate and react to potential safety threats.”

“Automation and connected wearable technology represent two of the single best opportunities to address the dangers of the mining environment. IoT technology provides the digital nerve system for a network of automated devices and sensors that adjust to environmental conditions in real-time, meaning that equipment can react to potentially hazardous physical changes onsite rapidly without the need for human intervention, removing staff from potentially dangerous environments.”

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