Remote Monitoring & Access / HMI

Emerging HMI trends and benefits of platform independence

Virtually every HMI software vendor has embraced HTML5.

By Mike Bacidore, editor in chief

Almost all machine builders understand the benefits of remote access to PC-based and embedded HMI servers by remote thin clients such as tablets and smartphones, but some still need convincing.

Mobility is here. Or is it over there? It’s everywhere. And virtually every HMI software vendor has embraced HTML5.

The HTML5 standard is simplifying remote access, and this standard has been widely adopted throughout both the industrial and commercial sectors. As recently as a couple of years ago, remote access to PC-based and embedded HMI servers via thin client browsers was limited to platforms running Windows-based operating systems, and in some cases Apple smartphones and tablets. But now, any piece of hardware supporting the HTML5 standard can be used for browser-based access. Since almost every operating system supports the standard, remote access is no longer device-dependent.

Machine builders benefit from remote access because they can monitor their machines at customer sites, which provides the customers with access to the experts who designed the machine, and that can help them to optimize their assets. This is a competitive advantage as they’re able to provide more value to customers.

It used to be hard for suppliers to provide browser-based access, as each OS had its own requirements, and that limited which devices could be used to display HMI screens. Vendors had to design remote access into the software for each remote-device OS or remote device and update the software to stay current with operating system updates, patches and revisions.

With the HTML5 standard, this customization is no longer required. All you need to make a device an HMI thin client is compliance with the HTML5 standard by the HMI software and the remote device OS. HTML5 is widely available on a variety of devices including Windows, iOS, Android and Linux. This provides platform independence and lets suppliers focus on providing operators with access to timely information, regardless of where they are.

Tech Trends, Back to Basics and Case Studies

Our latest 2016 State of Technology Report explores in greater detail the technology trends in the arena of HMI and operator interface. Drawn from the most recent articles published in the pages of Control Design, this special report includes articles on emerging trends, basic primers and case histories illustrating the latest technology in action. We hope that you find it useful.

Download the Technology Report: Latest HMI & Operator Interface Trends