Opto 22 Develops Tool to Build Mobile Automation, Monitoring & Control Interfaces
How an application built using Opto 22’s Groov tool might look on an iPhone. The automation vendor plans to release the tool for building and deploying web-based automation, monitoring, and control interfaces for mobile devices regardless of OS in April. The interfaces are meant to be complementary to human machine interfaces (HMIs) from Opto 22’s SNAP PAC control system. (Source: Opto 22)
As automation systems become more interconnected, mobile devices will play an even larger role in the information chain. This tool should help engineers develop interfaces for a range of smartphones and other mobile devices that look more contemporary and provide them with information from automation systems in an easy-to-read way.
I really like the mobile monitoring aspect of this tool. In the old days I wrote a program that monitored a 160 channels and when one of them went out of range, it paged the engineer with the number of the channel that was out of range - and we thought that was great. The engineer would know from the channel number whether or not it was something that he had to address immediately and go to the plant, or if it was something that could wait until morning. Being able to read the actual data in real time from any location like you were standing in front of it in an easy and intuitive format is very cool - We've come a long way, baby!
It's my understanding, apresher, that the tool is meant more to build an interface for a contemporary mobile device, like a smartphone or tablet, that connects to an automation system and provides relevant system diagnostic and other information on that device. So it's not quite as specific as what you are describing. But I can double check and make sure I am explaining it correctly.
Yes, Nancy, this technology has come a long way. And I think it will go even further as technologies like EtherCAT are adopted more across industrial networks and everything becomes more interconnected. The mobile device is a powerful tool, and to have access to information in the field using devices people carry every day is I imagine quite handy. Thanks for the industry perspective on this.
TJ, Having worked for an OEM in the mobile machinery industry for a number of years, this would have been a VERY useful system if it were capable of getting the info from whatever automation system that was bein used. However, I think it almost needs to be dual-OS (Android and iOS). Whatever one you pick, your customers will have standarized on the other one.
I'm the Opto 22 media contact who provided Elizabeth with the early information on groov, and I think I can address the questions here. (And for the record, I have no idea how I got the username "OptoISO.")
Jack and TJ: groov -- specifically the groov web application -- runs in a web browser on a mobile or other device, so the key requirement is not the device OS, but instead it's whether the device's web browser is current enough to handle the caching, graphics scaling, and other recent web technologies the groov web application uses.
Jack: I think that information about automation system support didn't make it past DN's editorial trimming process. For its initial release in April, groov communicates with Opto 22 SNAP PAC systems and OptoEMU energy monitoring products. Support for OPC-UA is planned to be added later this year, which expands the number of devices for which you can create and run an operator interface. If the automation system or device has an OPC-UA server, groov can talk to it.
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