Posts Tagged ‘Mobile Solutions’

Security: Is the HTML Web Engine secure?

Wednesday, May 11th, 2016

Security has the highest priority

Measures such as encrypted communication based on security certificates or user authentication contribute to protecting the system.

User Authentication

Web_Desktop_Login

This is fully based on the zenon Runtime User Management (including Active Directory). You can set user levels in the zenon RT for example, to prevent somebody who is not authorized from getting into the HMI areas.

Please note

It is important to note that the Web Engine is not a secure solution per se. It is – for instance – not recommended to ever publish web content directly to the internet. Surrounding (standard IT) security concepts have to be considered.

HTTPS

The Web Engine recommends and sets the IIS to use HTTPS by default – in order to do this a self-signed certificate is created.

HTML5 visualization with the zenon Web Server – Licensing

Friday, April 22nd, 2016

Which license is required for the HTML Web Engine?

A Web Server Pro or Web Server is required for the HTML Web Engine.

Production Process Overview (HTML)

Production Process Overview (HTML Web Engine)

From zenon version 7.50 on, the zenon Web Server can provide visualization as an HTML5-compliant web page. HTML5-compatible web browsers are thereby always in a position to process and display visualization content; regardless of the type of device or operating system.

The HTML Web Engine, which is included in the zenon Editor checks the licensing of the zenon Web Server. The functionality of the HTML Web Engine is adapted based on the licensed Web Server versions as follows:

Web Server Version:

Only read access to the visualization. The HTML Web Client can be used as a viewer.

Web Server Pro Version:

Full access to the visualization, read and write.

NB: the number of simultaneous client connections given by the Microsoft IIS is limited. If there is no license, the HTML Web Engine is started in a time-limited demo mode. Once the demo period and the demo extension has expired, the HTML web engine can be started in demo mode again.

Does the HTML Web Engine run under “Web Server Pro Light”?

No, the HTML Web Engine doesn’t run unter Web Server Pro Light.

Use HTML5 technology with zenon: What works and what doesn’t?

Thursday, April 14th, 2016

Line_State_DesktopHTML5 puts information onto the screen – modern and platform-independent. From the user perspective, completely uncomplicated and in the familiar environment; on their own mobile phone or tablet for example. Retrieving process information and enabling selective interaction – the HTML5 visualization is also integrated into zenon according to this principle.

Dynamic HTML5 content can be generated directly from a zenon project. You simply select the screens that should be available in the web. This is how informative dashboards and process overviews are created in no time at all. In doing so, the process operation behind this is based on proven zenon engineering and runtime technology. First, familiar properties and tools for the visualization design in the zenon Editor are used. Second, the productive process is reliably portrayed in native zenon technology. The whole range of visualization access can be used flexibly: native zenon Client, native zenon Web Client, zenon Terminal Server, Everywhere Server by zenon.

HTML5 visualization acts, to a certain extent, as an “add-on” for your equipment. This makes you feel at ease – not just when it comes to any necessary browser updates or any connection bottlenecks. This is how you pull the strings when configuring projects and operating your machines and equipment, while benefiting from the use of a simple HTML5 front end for easy access to visualization.

HTML5 – the basic approach

Thursday, April 7th, 2016

HTML5, where does it come from?

HTML_Screenshot_Tablet

HTML – Hyper Text Markup Language – is a mark-up language that was developed back when the Internet was invented in order to be able to suitably structure and transmit documents i.e. web pages. The recipient, a web browser, should be able to interpret and display the HTML document accordingly. From the time the Internet was created this simple principle has basically not changed, but it has been properly beefed up.

Mechanisms and standards for adding dynamic elements to web pages through to so-called “web applications” have been developed over the years. Permanent interaction between the web server and client via the network is required. There are software frameworks and libraries galore. The web browser today is a complex system that handles the content received and, in doing so, generally executes complex program code.

A smooth user interface that quickly goes in depth

When we talk of HTML5 today, we mean the technological substructure of such a web application. On the surface, this can be represented by three parts:

  • HTML(5) still provides the fundamental structure for the web page.
  • SVG serves for drawing graphics elements.
  • JavaScript adds dynamic features to the web page and displays corresponding program logic.

But in fact, there are a number of other components that do their bit depending on the requirements of an application: communication, data processing, display, security. The list of tools and approaches could probably be expanded on a weekly basis; the versions on a daily basis. And this for both the web client and the web server. An HTML5 web application is developed within the dynamic environment of current web technologies. It then will continue to exist there too. Much more than just a few lines of JavaScript code are therefore needed.

Smart Interfaces – The future of industrial user interfaces

Friday, January 31st, 2014

As a result of the emergence of new technical (mobile) devices for both visualization and control usage, new operating concepts and thus also visualizations have become necessary. In their private lives, users experience completely new interaction concepts thanks to tablets and smartphones and increasingly expect these in the professional field.

It is necessary to distribute the same information, regardless of device type, on the basis of a uniform central project. In order to achieve this, the trend is moving towards “responsive design”; design that reacts to the device and the user and adapts optimally to the situation.

However, not just the aspects of the device should be taken into consideration here. A project that needs to be specially adapted to each possible device in the production environment can no longer be implemented and maintained adequately. An example is the fragmentation of screen resolutions on Android devices (from a resolution of 240 x 180 to a resolution of 2040 x 1152 – see figure below). Also current “special solutions”, such as WPF controls, can only be used on Microsoft systems and cannot be adapted for different devices in any way.

 

 

Integration relates to more than automatic adaptation, such as for the screen resolution of the device. The goal is seamless design – the integration and automatic adaptation to different hardware and software platforms, users and tasks.

It is not just the visual part of the human-machine interface that plays a specific role, but also the behavior of an application in the background. Examples are context-sensitive navigation, automatic support tools to implement the current task at hand, or the provision of information related to a current piece of data.

SUNAa is what sometimes gets us into a sweat when faced with this problem. With this, its not about the sometimes heated discussions during the planning and optimization of a new version of zenon, but the four types of technologies that constitute a challenge for the future of human-machine interfaces:

Social

Social in the sense of HMI and SCADA applications does not refer to the automatic posting of the last alarm message on Facebook. The ordinary example of a user who uses only one single machine to carry out a task is often a thing of the past. More and more often it is about several users, working together and switching between different stations and machines in order to achieve a common objective. In terms of design, this is a difficult task for the integrator.

Agentive

Agentive algorithms, or machine-like artificial intelligence, recognizes not just our identity, but also our intents and possibly even our current emotional state and can react to it accordingly.

Ubiquitous

Information on the status of a machine, a production line or an entire factory is all part of our daily business, regardless of whether its directly on the machine, in the control room on the desktop or on the cell phone in the hand of the service technician. Nowadays users constantly change between these technological points of contact. Our objective must be to make this as seamless as possible for the user.

Natural User Interactions

NUIs describe a selection of technologies that take more from our body and its abilities than the classic WIMP interface (windows, icons, menus and pointer). Examples of this are haptic user interfaces, gesture-based user interfaces and language-based user interfaces.

Each of these technological aspects is already a powerful tool when used on its own. However the real added value is created when these are combined in a strong, comprehensive platform such as zenon.

Another challenge is working with several users simultaneously, such as for a joint alarm cause analysis on a Microsoft PixelSense Multi-Touch system (e.g. Samsung SUR40). It is not just the case of a sole operator in front of a monitor, but a smooth cooperation with all those involved, such as the automation technician, the production planner, the controller and the process technician. These systems offer, in addition to the possibility of several users working simultaneously on the same application –something that conventional Windows applications do not currently support – the possibility of pattern recognition. This allows the use of any desired object. For example as a physical rotary knob, and thus a new type of two-hand operation. Here the physical object must be consciously placed on the interface first, before any action is executed. At the same time no dedicated login is needed, because an action is only possible with the personal token of the user.

We at COPA-DATA are already facing the future challenges of stationary and mobile HMI and SCADA applications and are continually working to equip zenon as both an engineering tool as well as a (mobile) device application for the future.

The Everywhere App by zenon – faqs (Part 2)

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

How do I configure the Everywhere App?

Everywhere App by zenon

After the first start of the Everywhere App, the smartphone user needs to setup the connection to the Everywhere Server. The name or IP address of the computer running the Everywhere Server, the port numbers for HTTP and HTTPS, the name of the zenon project and whether HTTPS is used or not, needs to be specified.

How does the Everywhere App work?

After the connection is set up, the smartphone user can login with the zenon user credentials and choose categories and sub categories (equipment model groups) to choose variables from, to be displayed. Once the variables are selected, the values are displayed in different graphical representations (lists, graphical elements or bar graphs). The smartphone user can change the view to see active alarms.

Is the viewing of the data protected somehow?

In order to display the information, the smartphone user will have to authenticate using credentials of a zenon user created in the zenon Runtime project. Active Directory user authentication, which is available in the zenon Runtime, is not supported in the Everywhere App.

Who can access this data once the Everywhere Server is running?

That depends on a number of factors. First of all, only those smartphone users to which you provide the required configuration and login information have the necessary information to access the Everywhere Server. When using HTTPS on the Everywhere Server with a self-signed certificate, smartphone users also need to have this certificate installed on their smartphone. It further depends on your network configuration and firewall configuration.
See also “Is the Everywhere App safe to use”

Is the Everywhere App safe to use?

The simple answer is yes. The Everywhere App requires authentication and only allows read-only access of the data. However correct configuration of your network, firewalls, intrusion detection systems, DMZ and network monitoring systems can further enhance the security. Of course this does not only apply to the Everywhere Server, but in general is an important part of the planning and operation of any control system.
You could limit access to the Everywhere Server to a single secure WiFi access point in your factory that is behind a firewall, configured to only allow communication to the Everywhere Server, (not to the control network, not to the corporate network, and not to the internet). When you activate the HTTPS option, the network traffic is also protected from prying eyes.

Where to go from here? What if I have concerns, questions or would like to see more functionality?

You can rate the Everywhere App in the iTunes Store or Windows Phone Marketplace and leave feedback for us and other users. For further information, you can of course also always contact your local COPA-DATA support representative.

The Everywhere App by zenon – FAQs (Part 1)

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

Everywhere App by zenon

What is the Everywhere App?

The Everywhere App is a zenon “app” for smartphones with iOS (iPhone) or Windows Phone.
Smartphones with Android or Blackberry are currently not supported.

What can I do with the Everywhere App?

The Everywhere App allows smartphone users to display selected alarms and selected values from their zenon Runtime project with a live update, in graphical displays on their smartphones. For safety reasons, changing values or acknowledging alarms is not possible from the Everywhere App or through the Everywhere Server.

Where can I get the Everywhere App and what does it cost?

You can download the Everywhere App for free on your smartphone from the iTunes Store or from the Windows Phone Marketplace. Simply search for “Everywhere App” and look for the logo with the zenon “z”.

What is the Everywhere Server and where do I get it?

The Everywhere Server is a small application to which the Everywhere App connects to retrieve the data that is displayed. The Everywhere Server application comes pre-installed with the current zenon version SP0 and is an optional module for a zenon Runtime on a PC (Windows CE not supported) that requires a license.
Get in contact with your local sales representative to find out more about the pricing and licensing options for the Everywhere Server.

What else do I need in order to use the Everywhere App for my projects?

Apart from the Everywhere App on your Windows Phone or iPhone, you need a PC with an up-to-date zenon SP0 Runtime and your zenon project(s). On this PC the Everywhere Server must be licensed and running. In the workspace for your project, you need a global project with equipment model groups and subgroups which are offered to the smartphone user as categories to choose from. At the lowest level of the equipment model groups, you link the variables from your project that the smartphone user should be able to select for alarms and display of data.