Mobile consumer technologies such as iPads could become more common in manufacturing plants, particularly among younger workers, say industry leaders. The devices can help workers track maintenance and operational data while on the go, but experts warn that the devices aren't a good fit for every workspace. "We sometimes don't spend enough time thinking about what is the true value, and does it make sense to take existing workflows and support them through the iPad," said Joe Barkai, research vice president for IDC Manufacturing Insights.

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