App Access or Browser-Based Access for Machine Operator Interface. What's Better?

Some automation vendors offer direct access to machine HMIs and OITs with iPhone apps. Apps are useful for personal purposes, particularly for quick access to online info. We're wondering if app access for machine operator interface is better than browser-based access through a smartphone, or just a sexier marketing of the same capability.

Send us your comment, suggestions or solutions for this problem. We'll include it in the May '12 issue, and post it on Send visuals if you'd like -- a sketch is fine. Email us at Please include your company, location and title in the response.