Mines coming out of care-and-maintenance are piloting GroundHog. Here are 5 reasons why....

As mines are starting to get back to full production, 9 new mining operations have started a pilot in the last 3 weeks alone. In this article, I outline five of the key reasons these mines – especially the ones coming out of care and maintenance have started these pilots.


COVID-19 caused major disruptions at more than 80% of the mines worldwide. The government forced mines to shutdown in many countries, including Mexico, Peru, Argentina and India and quite a few mines have been running at significantly reduced capacities. Transportation restrictions forced mines with fly-in/fly-out and bus-in/bus-out workforces to significantly change rotations and operating schedules. At a majority of these operations, many mine managers and superintendents were restricted to get to site and had no ability to monitor production to meet market needs and contractual obligations.


In such an environment of disruptions, uncertainty and chaos, mine managers and corporate decision makers have come to realize the need to have secure access to all the information they need to plan and run their operations seamlessly even when they cannot get on site.


Mines now demand solutions that increase flexibility and dependability — solutions that help them monitor all value-additive activities even when they are remote.

 As mines have started to come out of care and maintenance worldwide, many have started to pilot GroundHog’s SIC and FMS systems. As we analyze the reasons they started the pilot, we’ve identified a few major reasons 

GroundHog runs on standard iOS and Android Tablets

Unlike FMS software made by equipment manufacturers that require customers to buy custom hardware, GroundHog SIC and FMS is built to run on off-the-shelf iPads and Android Tablets. Most mining companies have already giving iPads and Android tablets to their front-line supervisors.


 Supervisors already use these tablets to attend their Video Conferences and check email. Given that these tablets are already available at the mine sites, it is extremely easy to evaluate GroundHog on the devices they already have.

GroundHog installation, configuration and training take 1 hour

As a software built from the ground up, we designed GroundHog so it can be deployed either in the cloud or on-prem. All the on-prem deployments can be done remotely – using a VPN connection. 


Our DevOps team creates a secure instance of GroundHog for each customer. As an SaaS based software vendor with deep expertise in build and deployment automation and an Amazon Technology partner, this installation process takes us about 20 minutes.


In the mean time, the pilot participants download the Operator, Supervisor, Mine Manager and Maintenance apps to their tablet directly from the Apple and Google App Stores. We then setup and configure users, equipment and locations depending on the mining method used.


As a company that has a maniacal focus on user-centered-design, we’ve designed all of our interfaces to make it super easy for our end users – Production Planners, Supervisors, Miners, Maintenance Managers and Mine Managers. Training for the pilot typically takes about 30 minutes.

We were up and running in less than an hour. It looks pretty powerful. Pretty easy to train the operators too.

No new hardware required Peer-to-Peer mesh networking and Online/Offline mode support are available out-of-the-box

In a typical mine site looking at evaluating a traditional FMS from the equipment OEMs, managers are often forced to make investments in purchasing additional networking hardware such as getting IT and purchasing involved to order and install new WiFi access points, configuring networking switches, and installing custom hardware on the equipment rigs.


Fortunately, GroundHog comes out of the box ready to do online/offline mode and also dynamically creates mesh networks using GroundHog’s proprietary peer-to-peer technology to transfer data from miner-to-miner, miner-to-supervisor, miner-to-machine and machine-to-machine.


GroundHog’s revolutionary dynamic peer-to-peer networking is helping mines lift the proverbial lid by transforming each individual tablet running GroundHog to function as a wireless router so data can be passed from the face to managers in near real-time. Using GroundHog, mine managers and supervisors are no longer left in the dark for entire shifts.


During the pilot phase, mines are simply handing out tablets to the pilot users and letting them carry around the tablets during the shift. Some mines then choose to permanently install the hardware on the equipment once they go to a full production deployment.


Supervisors and Mine Managers have an app to monitor production in real time

Remote monitoring is a hot-topic due to the current COVID situation, and rightly so. However, social distancing isn’t the only reason remote monitoring is useful. Being able to reach into your pocket and check on production at any time is a valuable resource and ensures that when a decision needs to be made the data required to make it a good one is well within reach. This is one of the main reasons mines are piloting GroundHog  

GroundHog has a built-in COVID-19 Contact Tracing

One of the biggest use cases for GroundHog’s peer-to-peer technology is contact tracing. Tablets running GroundHog actively look for other tablets and phones running GroundHog when they are not connected to a network. Each device keeps a lot of what other devices they came in contact with during a shift, the frequency of contact and the length of each contact – irrespective of whether they are actively connected WiFi or peer-to-peer. Since each of these devices are traceable back to an employee, we can easily trace exposure, frequency of exposure and and length of exposure to other miners that employee came in contact with.

What are mines typically evaluating during the Pilot

9 new pilots in the past 3 weeks is huge jump from what we used to do pre-covid. Having listened to customers and having analyzed key drivers, I’m convinced that mines have a new sense to digitize.

Old school Fleet Management Systems sold by OEMs have not kept pace with the innovations in user centered design, cloud technologies, open APIs, scalability and flexibility. They are no longer happy with the once-a-week reports that the OEMs send. They want access to the raw data so they can slice-and-dice data the way they want to and glean insights so they can run their mine more efficiently and generate more shareholder value.


COVID-19 made a lot of mines realize the importance “data-at-your-fingertips”. This is driving an increase in the number of pilots we’ve started.So, here is a how they are evaluating GroundHog during the pilot

  1. Does it really take only 1 hour to install, configure and train?
  2. Is it really that easy to plan and prioritize my shift?
  3. Is it easy for me to monitor production?
  4. Can I get availability / utilization numbers easily?
  5. Does GroundHog peer-to-peer really work as advertised?
  6. Is the data in the system accurate and is the system reliable?
  7. Can it really easily integrate with 3rd party software and reporting systems?
  8. How is the support?

What does it take to start a GroundHog Pilot?

To start a GroundHog Pilot, a mine needs the following:

  1. A minimum of 3 iPads or Android Tablets. To do a proper pilot, we recommend 6 Tablets.
    • 2 tablets for Supervisors
      2 for Haul Truck operators
    • 2 for Loader Operators (in underground or open pit) or Shovel Operators
    • Alternatively, 1 for a Jumbo operator and 1 for a Bolter operator
  2. At least one Tablet needs to have WiFi or Cellular data access


It really does take only 3 tablets and about 1 hour to get up and running with GroundHog at your mine.


Get a quick 30 minute demo and start your pilot. Those 30 minutes WILL change the way you run your mine.


#domore #faster #safer

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