ScadaMobile Q&A

Where does ScadaMobile best fit?

ScadaMobile is a very cost-effective HMI/Scada iPhone app which helps to improve the way process engineers, system operators and maintenance people deal with remote facilities.

It is specially advantageous and very well adapted for the following cases:

  • Autonomous systems or facilities running without on-site human supervision for most of the day, if at all.
  • Systems or facilities which operators and maintenance team are mostly away due to shared tasks or because they are in charge of several installations, possibly away from each other.
  • Systems which require a fast, reliable and lightweight off-the-shelf wireless terminal to interact with either locally or remotely
  • iPhone owners that must deal with remote facilities and do not want to carry on with the overhead of classic web based remote solutions.

 

Can ScadaMobile be run as an add-on to existing systems?

Sure, although ScadaMobile by itself has enough capabilities to be deployed as a standalone remote monitoring solution it can also be run alongside existing systems so the user can chose what is more convenient to use at any time.

 

Who can use ScadaMobile?

Typical industrial users include plant engineers, plant operators, and maintenance teams needing wireless access to real time PLC data. Also, PLC software developers and Scada integrators can use it as a helper tool during plant commissioning and initial start up stages. In particular, anyone using PLCs for whatever process to which mobile remote access is needed will find it advantageous.

 

Can ScadaMobile be offered by OEMs?

Yes, and it has specific features designed for this. For example OEMs can use the administrator account with a private password to upload configuration files (Source Files) into ScadaMobile in order to customize the app for working with their systems only, as well as placing a company logo on the app interface. End users do not need to know or to have access to most details, therefore OEMs can chose to offer a pre-configured version of the app, which is already prepared to run with their systems. By keeping the administrator password private, the OEMs technical staff is the only authorized party for defining what users are allowed to see or to do.

 

Can I monitor several PLCs on a single interface?

Yes, ScadaMobile lets you import independent configuration files (Source Files) for each PLC you want to connect to, and it provides ways to arrange data from all PLCs in any desired way within the Pages/Sections layout that the app features. ScadaMobile automatically establishes connections to relevant PLCs depending on actual tags arrangement and current display.

 

Is it secure to use ScadaMobile?

Absolutely. ScadaMobile is based on Internet standards and supports proven security protocols including VPN (Virtual Private Networks) and SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) encryption. It also makes extensive use of passwords to prevent access to unauthorised persons or to filter access to unsuitable data for particular users.

 

Is it safe to use ScadaMobile?

That’s an excellent question. Deploying and using any remote monitoring solution requires that you or your users understand exactly what can be accomplished. Simply changing a set point, or turning an equipment on or off can have hazardous consequences. Much worse if you are not present.

As any other remote monitoring product, ScadaMobile does not escape from these issues. But remote supervising applications will also bring more safety to processes or systems if you are able to take action at any time in the event of an incident. So this should be carefully balanced. The best advice is to keep remote monitoring as simple as possible and to use it with judgement, always keeping any crucial real-time control task in the safe hands of on-site logic controllers.

 

Why would ScadaMobile implement user accounts if the iPhone or iPod Touch is a single user device?

There are several reasons for doing so. First, even if mobile devices are intended for personal use, it is relatively easy for anyone to gather physical access to someone’s else iPhone. This may have no major consequences for most consumer applications but can be potentially dangerous in case of ScadaMobile as seen in previous question. Setting up private user accounts can help to prevent this risk.

Furthermore, user accounts allow for establishing access policies for process variables by specifying reading or writing levels so that users can have limited or customised access to remote systems. Even a single iPhone owner may chose to create several accounts, from basic access to full access, to prevent herself from accidental changes on the remote process.

User accounts also make possible for OEMs to prepare and offer a pre-configured version of the app featuring full integration with their systems.

 

Do you have any plans to support other PLC besides OMRON?

We are already supporting Modbus/TCP and Allen Bradley Ethernet/IP enabled controllers. The app is internally designed to make really easy to add any industrial protocol to it. So the main barrier that we come across before we are able to implement a protocol is usually to find a reliable source for detailed information about the protocol. Most protocols are simply hidden or not freely documented. However, if you want us to support other protocols please do not hesitate to ask for what you need. We would like to hear from you.

 

ScadaMobile is fine for presenting a list of tags, but will it ever support custom layouts or customised arrangement of display elements?

We conceived the app for presenting a list of PLC tags in the most efficient way. It can deal with hundreds or even thousands of tags. Items can be arranged in Pages and Sections, they can be Shown or Hidden on demand, applied appearance attributes, and PLC data can be formatted/presented in really sophisticated ways.

We agree that a full graphic representation would be helpful for some users or uses, Home Automation comes to mind, but we chose the app to be mostly a fast data centric application, rather than featuring a cumbersome, difficult to navigate interface. In the future, we may evolve the iPad version to support custom layout of tags and controls, which may eventually become a full HMI solution.

 

How can I get Support?

The best place to start is here.

 

What languages do you support?

The app comes in English and Spanish and we are able to give technical support in any of these languages. We are not native speakers of any of them though, so we want to apologise if we sometimes do not sound natural enough. If by chance you belong to the 0.1% world population who is able to speak Catalan you will be warmly welcome since this is the language we mostly speak in the company!.

Otherwise, use English or Spanish, we will be happy to reply using the same. For the app, we may add additional language support depending on demand: Dutch and German translations would be easy to add for us given enough demand but we would not give technical support in these languages in the short term.

 

What are the differences among ScadaMobile ONE, Modbus Gem and the and FULL version?

Compared to the FULL version, the only SM ONE difference is the number of supported PLC tags. ScadaMobile ONE is limited to a maximum of 1 tag. Beyond that it will display an information icon indicating this restriction in place of PLC tag values. However, Local/Internal tags can be used with no restriction on any version. All remaining features are identical to the Full version with the same version number.

Modbus Gem is a special version of ScadaMobile FULL supporting only the Modbus protocol, which is offered at a lower price to help integrators using the app in combination with cost effective small PLCs or modbus RTUs.

 

What happened to the ‘Lite’ version?

With the release of SM 2.0 and Modbus Gem we discontinued support for ‘Lite’. ScadaMobile Lite was originally intended for evaluation purposes, but the free SM ONE app took its place. We believe that SM ONE does a better job at helping integrators to evaluate the product because it is free and it is consistently updated to the latest available version. Therefore, continued support for ‘Lite’ eventually became something that we wanted to avoid. For less demanding applications using only Modbus we offer now Modbus Gem at a reduced price, which in some cases may help to fill the price gap to the full version.

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