Naperlou, This approach does use HTML5 but the network appliance adds two things: security that separates the control network from the web and easy access to control parameters. It could be done in HTML but this approach makes it much easier because there are basically templates and tools to view all of the available parameters. Simplifies the development but also requires the network appliance.
Al, I would think that developing a native app for a smart phone of tablet would not be that hard. On the other hand, the vendors you mention are probably using HTML5. This will run on any enabled browser. These browsers will run on smart phones, tablets and PCs with little or no change. On the other hand, I still see lots of native apps being built. Perhaps we still have a way to go.
Both traditional automation companies and startups are developing technologies to improve processes on the factory floor, while smart sensors and other IoT-related technologies are improving how products are handled during transport and across the supply chain.
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