The Cloud Gives A Strategic Edge To Mining Companies. Are You Missing Out On This Revolutionary Technology?
The cloud can play an important role in mining companies – but maybe you think it’s still just a fad, and not actually here to stay. That’s a dangerous assumption, especially when you know what the cloud can do for you (and has already done for other Australian mining companies).
The mining industry is a pre-historic human practice. Do you really need to buy into each technological fad – like the cloud — that comes along?
When it comes to the cloud?
Yes, you should definitely get on board…
Long story short – the cloud is here to stay. That’s why you need to know what it has to offer you.
But to start, let’s consider the cloud in general…
What Is The Cloud (And What Does It Do?)
In a nutshell, the cloud is a network of technologies that allows access to computing resources, such as storage, processing power, and more. Why bother with the cloud? It has a number of general benefits it offers to any type of work…
- Computing Power: The cloud has the ability to activate tens of thousands of CPUs. This unparalleled power can quickly perform deep analytics of your data, and process nearly any ad-hoc queries that you require.
- Reliable Costs: The cloud services subscription model offers the strategic advantage of low-cost, low-risk opt-in combined with a simple, predictable monthly fee.
- Easy Scalability: Cloud services have the unique strategic characteristic of being able to stretch or shrink to suit your current level of demand. This is especially useful for businesses of any scale that will change in size over time.
- Real-Time Collaboration: With cloud technology, your staff doesn’t have to wait for each other to be done with their part of the document or project in order to tackle their own aspect. They can all work on the same project at the same time to maximise productivity.
- Remote Work Capability: This cloud feature allows you and your employees to work remotely as need be, which will give your staff the flexibility they desire to have a more balanced home/work life.
But that’s not all – the cloud even offers specific advantages to mining companies.
What Does The Cloud Offer Mining Companies?
Access To The Internet Of Things
In a nutshell, the Internet of Things (IoT) will allow you to turn your “dumb” trucks, shovels, drones, drill rigs, and other machines into intelligent ones. It’s all about collecting data (as has been the case with Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) for years), but this way, you don’t need direct user oversight to do so.
Intelligent mining machines will be able to collect data automatically, allowing for centralised and distributed analytics, and control and ubiquitous connectivity through the internet. This supports both the management of holistic organisational decisions made in comprehensive data analytics applications and via a distributed fashion in edge analytics.
There are plenty of examples of this application of cloud technology in mining already – Rio Tinto’s fleet of automated trucks are working around the clock to move ore from one place to another – something you couldn’t achieve with the same investment in a human counterpart. Similarly, in Sweden, Boliden and Ericsson have built an automated gold mine, which relies on a 5G network-enabled ventilation system that reduces energy requirements.
In the pre-cloud era, any remotely operated mines were observed via a combination of CCTV video feeds and aerial photography – but that’s not the way it has to be anymore.
Thanks to a combination of cloud-enabled technology that includes aerial photogrammetry, light detection and ranging (LiDAR) and machine-mounted stereoscopic photogrammetry, you can visualise your mining site in detailed, real-time three-dimensional imagery.
Eliminate Onsite Infrastructure
You can increase collaboration and simplify management by hosting your data and applications through the cloud instead of onsite. It shouldn’t have to be said at this point, but just in case you’re still in the past – get rid of your on-site hardware.
Before the cloud, onsite servers were a must for any organisation that wanted to succeed, but no longer. Today, you don’t need to purchase, install and maintain onsite servers- with the cloud, you outsource it all to a data center instead.
By choosing a cloud solution instead of conventional infrastructure, you will enjoy all the benefits of an up to date and optimised IT infrastructure, without having to pay more than your monthly service fee.
This is so basic in today’s modern business world that to continue purchasing and maintaining costly on-site hardware is essentially fiscal negligence.
Stochastic Mine Planning
Deterministic mine planning, while the norm for so long, can be inaccurate. There are so many assumptions baked into the process of estimating the resources beneath the surface, regardless of how strong the geostatistical science may be.
That’s why the prospect of stochastic mine planning is so exciting – it’s the science of modeling the uncertainty as a whole, through each and every step of the process from modeling to mining. This approach allows for plans to anticipate the potential uncertainty in the inputs and allows for a more accurate operation within the boundaries of the plan.
Why Might You Still Be Hesitant To Use The Cloud?
Despite these key advantages offered by the cloud, there are a number of reasons why mining businesses have yet to entirely embrace the cloud, especially larger business and corporate enterprises:
- Migration: To those who are unfamiliar or uncomfortable with technology, the prospect of changing the fundamental nature of their IT environment from top to bottom is simply too much to ask. Even when the benefits of transitioning to a new cloud solution are clear and verifiable, many would prefer not to go to the effort and expense of switching IT models. Honestly? For a time, that was a fair argument. The process of pulling apart an on-premise IT environment, reducing hardware, and then building a new environment in the cloud that would do all the same things was a long, tedious and stressful process to undertake.
- Design: Even those that use the cloud may be underwhelmed by what it offers – probably because they’re not getting anything more than the cloud itself. This technology can be applied to so many business processes and practices, but to do so independently takes time and effort. And yet, so many cloud solutions come with the expectation that the user will determine the best way to optimise them. In short, they’re not designed for anyone in particular.
- Control: This is especially a concern for larger businesses. When it comes to the data they store and the work they do for thousands and thousands of customers, they simply don’t want to entrust it to a third-party or store it off-site in someone else’s data center.
If you agree with any of these concerns, but still find the many benefits offered by the cloud to be attractive, then maybe it’s time to learn more.
Talk to a qualified IT company like Xyber Solutions to find out how the cloud can help you do what you do, without requiring you to take on any additional risks.
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