Technology is revolutionizing the industrial sector – but few companies are embracing Industry 4.0 in full force. According to McKinsey, they’re missing out on a trillion dollar opportunity.

In our experience, many of our manufacturing clients aren’t sure where to start with tech like AI or IoT. Or, if they have started, they’re deploying new tech here and there as stop-gaps, but they don’t have an overall strategy.

What can provide a big boost is a series of IT assessments. Not only will you know exactly the current state of your IT infrastructure, you’ll get a much clearer picture of the steps you need to take to reach your goals. We conduct a wide range of assessments, but we typically start with these first three:

  1. Network Assessment

A network assessment isn’t just critical before beginning a project or deploying new technology. We generally recommend network assessments on an ongoing basis to evaluate the health of your network. It gives us a baseline to plan around, and also alerts us to any potential pitfalls or future issues that could erupt unexpectedly.

As manufacturers look to employ more diverse and complex technologies to compete, they need to know whether they have the infrastructure to support these updates. Network assessments can help:

  • Prevent problems before they become serious
  • Plan for replacement of aging equipment
  • Determine causes of performance and reliability problems with applications, routers or LAN/WAN
  • Set up for e-business application implementation
  • Appraise bandwidth capacity planning for both applications and network transport
  • Evaluating ASP, ISP or MSP options
  • Provide independent validation of current infrastructure for future plans
  • Prepare for a network life event (merger/acquisition, relocation, migration, technology addition)

Not only will an assessment provide you with a thorough investigation of your network’s health, but we’ve seen many clients benefit from having a recorded, in-depth analysis of the existing network infrastructure for future reference.

  1. Wireless Assessment – Three Types

For a wireless assessment, also called an RF or wireless survey, we evaluate, plan and design a wireless network that’s ideal for your environment. There are three types of assessments we typically perform.

Predictive Wireless Assessment

A predictive wireless assessment is the simplest. We take floor plans and location maps and analyze environmental characteristics such as floor and wall materials, windows and door locations, and any large internal structures, which helps us accurately estimate a coverage plan.

This assessment takes the least amount of labor of our three wireless assessments, so it’s less expensive and provides fast results, with a turnaround of hours or days instead of weeks. It’s best for smaller wireless deployments.

Passive Wireless Assessment

A passive wireless assessment is more in-depth. We walk through your location with an assessment tool that picks up signal strengths, noise levels, SNR (signal-to-noise ratio) and interference levels from your current wireless network. It’s called “passive” because the tool simply “listens” to the wireless network to capture measurements.

In a passive wireless assessment we get a better understanding of the RF characteristics of a given location. It’s best for medium to large environments, and gives you a visual “heat map” that shows you coverage, signal strength and interferences.

Active Wireless Assessment

An active wireless assessment goes one major step beyond the passive assessment by associating the assessment tool with one or several access points. We get a lot more information this way – including round-trip times, throughput rates, packet loss, and retransmissions. Throughput rates and connection quality have become increasingly important as voice, video and other vital applications rely on exclusively on wireless networks.

  1. Security Assessment

Security is number-one on many manufacturers’ lists to protect data and keep operations running. As part of the assessment, we install specialized software tools onto your network, go over your current policies and procedures, and interview key personnel.

We conduct security assessments for compliance purposes as well as to seek out vulnerabilities, Identify areas of improvement and gather data for strategic planning.

Your Assessment Plans

When’s the last time you had a thorough assessment of your information technology? Learn more about Matrix’s assessments, contact us!