Business today runs at the speed of now.

The days of "while you were out" memos, of messages and notes, of even voicemails and emails -- and all of the missed connections they reflect -- are long passed.

Business today requires real time contact, immediate updates and zero missed opportunities. This is the time of of text messages, of push notifications, of alarms and alerts, of immediacy -- of now.

On the factory floor, however, communication is stuck in the past. Only there, oddly, can critical information -- downtime events, product defects, maintenance and alarms -- still rely on paging systems of bygone centuries, of one-way communication systems and radios barking against the roar of machines and through the hush of ear protection.

On the factory floor -- where immediacy should matter the most -- real-time communication has too often been ignored in the endless iterations of lean projects and efficiency programs.

However, it is becoming ever clearer that a communication system consistent with the pace of life today, one capable of alerting the right people at the right time about these critical issues, can be one of the most effective efficiency investments a plant can make.