During a presentation on mobility at the Invensys Software Conference, Saadi Kerman, one of Invensys’s Product Managers, said, “There’s a convergence going on around a new enterprise IT model known as SMAC (social, mobile, analytics and cloud). Ideally, the use of mobile applications to access systems enables users to visualize, collaborate and execute at all levels of the organization, delivering a level of cohesiveness and collaboration that were not possible before.”To help explain the critical role mobile is increasingly playing in industry, Kermani asked the audience to think of a control feedback loop. Where process control systems report from fractions of a second up to hours of activity, and production control systems report over days and weeks, enterprise business systems typically look at months or quarters. Kermani says mobile technology addresses the control gap connecting these systems because it allows users to react to compressed business time frames to make real-time decisions that can positively impact the enterprise.
“Industry veterans will tell you they have never had such breadth and depth of technology, solutions and capabilities at their disposal, especially when it comes to enabling a mobile workforce,” Kermani said. “Plant managers, engineers and operators need to embrace these new technologies to help them make faster, better business decisions in the right context and at the right time, without sacrificing their commitment to safety and security.”
Smart phones, tablets and other mobile devices are gaining a foothold in industrial settings because new advances have helped overcome traditional concerns, reliability, safety and cyber security among them. And with prices dropping dramatically over the past few years, along with the ability for even basic models of consumer-grade devices to be placed within rugged enclosures for Class 1, Div. 2 compliance, mobile is clearly becoming a fixture across industry.
The ability to collaborate and have access to information previously impossible to get remotely helps creates a user-driven network of modern computing, said Kermani. Virtual teams can now form, connect, collaborate and evolve as needed, to solve problems immediately, bringing in the right subject matter experts when needed.
Simply put, mobility solutions can improve productivity, performance and decision making, but only if they are applied effectively and correctly. End users increasingly expect to have access to not just static and historical reports, but to real-time data they can take action on to influence an outcome.
“Invensys customers have raised the bar, asking for data anytime, anywhere from any device,” said Kermani. “And they want data that is actionable, real-time and shareable.”
Despite industry’s increasing interest in all things mobile, Invensys recognizes that some information, at least for now, is better left on-premises. Examples of this kind of information include data from active MES production data, as well as data from SCADA and safetysystems.
Mobile access does a good job to support general reporting, analytics, process history, collaboration, MES reporting, design and simulation.
Products from Invensys that are currently available for mobile use include:
- —WonderwareInTouch Access Anywhere software lets users view and control real-time plant floor operations data using a secure web browser.
- —With Wonderware Workflow software, you can model entire workflows involving people and systems, as well as the proper task sequencing and dependencies. Wonderware Workflow softwaremtracks each work step and records the outcome so you have the detail you need to properly evaluate work performance and fine tune your work flows.
- –Avantis software offerings provide maintenance management, spares and inventory management and a complete procurement capability. This base capability is extended through powerful condition monitoring and management capabilities that can turn huge volumes of production data into actionable asset intelligence in real-time.
- —Wonderware Intelligence enterprise manufacturing intelligence (EMI) software provides an information framework, taking Wonderware and non-Wonderware-derived operations data sources to calculate, contextualize, store and present operational key performance indicators.
- —The Mobile Extension for the Invensys Off-sites Movement Automation System (MAS) executes manual field procedures to prepare the line setup for tank farm inventory movements, and communicates updated equipment status in real-time to the control system.
- —3D immersive virtual reality training is a reality through SimSci EYESIM software. It brings the training to workers by simulating real-life conditions in the field for plant start up, maintenance and shut down.
- —SmartGlance mobile reporting software pushes up-to-date KPIs and plant data to a smartphone or tablet, so users are never out of touch with plant performance.
- —IntelaTrac software is a mobile workforce management and decision support solution that helps ensure that operators follow best practices and help drive higher plant reliability.