Todd Smith, MST Global

Everyone is talking about Digital Transformation, but with technology changing at such a rapid rate, which communication technology should your mine invest in to give you the lowest total cost of ownership and biggest return on investment over the rest of your mine’s life?   How do you ensure that the technology that you choose today will be able to enable all the applications that your mind will depend on – even the one’s that haven’t been invented yet? How do you mitigate these risks and where should you start?  The answer to these questions is to invest in a modular, communications platform – not just a network - that will be able to adapt to your mine’s requirements over time.   This paper will provide insight into some of the predominant communications (WiFi, LTE, 4G, 5G) and tracking technologies (RFID, BLE, Ultra Wide Band, LoRa) that mines have deployed in the past; what mines are deploying right now; and what technologies are on the horizon that your mine should be looking at to maximize functionality and minimize costs.  It will talk about some of the main applications that mines are looking to enable; the “total cost” of implementing a solution; advantages and disadvantages of different types of network topologies and technologies that could be used in underground mining; other considerations such as power distribution and battery backup strategies; the Internet of Things (IoT), MQTT, edge computing, control and automation, and temporary, emergency or last mile communication; and the benefits of integrating these technologies into a communications platform with mobile devices, software, the cloud and big data analytics and purpose built solutions that have been specifically developed – by Miners – for Miners.