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iPhone app talks to PLCs

10 July, 2010

A Californian company has developed an application for Apple iPhone and iPod Touch devices that allows engineers to access live control variables from PLCs and RTUs and modify this data on their device. Instead of relying on Web servers and browsers, Sweet William’s ScadaMobile system uses low-level communication protocols to provide a fast, responsive method of connecting users to their systems.

The company says that field tests have shown that users are more comfortable using the iPhone technology than Web-based systems, because they feel closer to the system they are monitoring.

The app provides an interface for accessing and monitoring PLC variables (tags) and memory either locally or remotely, and supports both Modbus/TCP and Ethernet/IP, providing access to most major PLCs and RTUs. It can connect simultaneously to several remote devices.

Another Californian company, the wireless specialist Prosoft Technology, has announced that its Industrial Hotspot series of radios is compatible with ScadaMobile. These radios are certified for hazardous environments and are optimised for plant-wide network integration. This will allow plant engineers to monitor and modify live process data remotely. It can also be used for real-time alarm management.

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