Each and every one of us benefits from the contents that are extracted from a mine. As the world population continues to grow, it creates enormous pressure on mining companies to supply the minerals, metal and fuel that we have all become dependent on to improve our quality of living.
Mining companies face challenges not only in meeting these demands but also in staying competitive and productive in today’s ever-changing digital environment. Part of the challenge is staying abreast with all the technological advances available to help companies improve efficiencies.
As a result, it is imperative to find the right IT Managed Service Provider (MSP) with experience in the mining industry and who can traverse a variety of challenges head-on.
Mainstream MSPs are typically known to provide cost savings, bargaining power and access to a larger talent pool and scale-ability across the board. However, creating competitive advantages in the mining industry and propelling operating efficiencies, require MSPs to tailor their solutions to fit the mining operations. And this is where most MSPs fail to deliver the benefits of technology, leaving gaps in attaining operational efficiency in mining firms.
Some characteristics of firms in the mining industry which are significantly different from other industries involve having multiple geographic locations, having operations in remote locations as also subterranean operations.
Typically, MSPs have shortcomings in how they approach telecommunication infrastructure, namely connectivity that make most of the MSPs ill-equipped to serve the mining industry. Most MSPs expect to provision and manage traditional data connectivity services on top of land-based communication infrastructure such as DSL, Broadband, 3G/4G is widely available. However, these expectations are typically not valid in the mining industry.
Although in developed countries, internet access is pervasive, mining operations are often in remote regions where internet access, especially high-speed internet, is still not available.
Major parts of Africa have lower than 30% connectivity for high speed internet. Mining companies, like any other organizations, depend on communication which requires connectivity. Most of the MSPs are more focussed where internet is easily available and hence fall short of being able to provide connectivity in the remote regions.
MSPs assume that they will have access to network connectivity infrastructure and hence when faced with the prospect of having to provide data communication in regions where connectivity is a luxury is not so prevalent, they fall short in their duties.
Mining companies would be better served with visionary MSPs which have ventured to provide LEO satellite communication in such remote regions, offsetting the requirement of having traditional ground-based connectivity.
Most MSPs are geared towards providing managed network services where land lines can reach high-rise office buildings, industrial complexes etc. A mining company brings a curious angle to this game – subterranean mine sites. A mine-site is not a typical office space where network equipment and servers can be hosted in a dust-proof, sterile, air-conditioned environment. Rugged hand-helds are typically used which are very different than what a network engineer is qualified to provision and trouble-shoot.
Mining companies hence should look towards an end-to-end solution provider in the communication domain. For example, some MSPs have deployed niche solutions which involve running multiple repeaters to provide full wifi and cellular coverage in mine sites, and bridging the hand-helds communication terminals with VoIP exchanges and connecting the mine sites with head-offices. An end-to-end solution capability in MSP is much more well-desired; some having strong credentials in traditional land-based communication and networking methodology.
Mining companies often have satellite offices – which are located in different time-zones and countries. Most MSPs have operational reach within a smaller geo-location and hence balk at the prospect of having to provide tech support in another region, another country, different time-zone.
Therefore, mining companies should look for MSPs which have a footprint in different countries, or ability to provide technical support in different countries at very short notice and have prior experience in the quirks of the mining industry.
Additionally, executives in mining firms have a complicated mandate to keep track of hundreds of workers, multi-million dollar equipment, maintenance, safety, compliance and productivity levels. Multiple sources of information necessitates collating this information in real-time to facilitate data-driven decision making.
Cloud based technology has proved to be indispensable in this regard to keep important data synchronized across multiple sites, available on demand. Whether you are in Nevada or Nigeria, you can connect from the same integrated system instantaneously.
Mines can input their data and generate reports in the cloud system, thus eliminating the need for chasing down critical information because it’s all readily accessible. Benefits of experienced MSPs becomes even more tangible when a mine starts to scale. MSPs, especially those with experience in this domain, can provide turn-key, secure and cost-effective solutions which can facilitate data driven effective decision making which is critical for any mining operation.
As you can see, it is imperative that mining companies find a managed IT service provider that specializes in the mining sector. We’ve been the backbone of several mining and exploration companies throughout Canada and the U.S., but also in Africa and South America.
We have witnessed these companies grow exponentially with us behind them. Our managed IT services portfolio fits right in with the business needs of a mining company that might have remote offices, mining locations and workers. We can help traverse the geographical challenges a mining company faces and make long distances seem a lot shorter.
Here are some of the specialized solutions we offer mining and energy businesses.
We have come up with tailored network solutions for many of our clients in the mining industry and we can do the same for you, no matter how complex your specific requirements are. If you need underground connectivity in mine-sites, we can run multiple repeaters to provide full WiFi and cellular coverage.
Low earth orbit satellite broadband services are critical for remote locations as they offer increased speed, lower cost and greater connectivity. We can offer customized remote satellite packages for your business.
Because you’ve got multiple locations to keep connected, it makes sense for your business to be cloud-based. This way, regardless of an employee’s physical location, they can access all the data they need, when they need it from anywhere in the world.
Long distance and International calling can really add up with traditional phone service. Our clients in the mining industry have experienced serious savings by switching to VoIP. Our service includes unlimited long distance and support. We will keep you in touch with even the most remote locations.