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By Daniel Watson, Automation Solutions Innovator, Yokogawa

Thanks to the digital revolution, we are suffering from information overload, with the mentality of ‘there’s an app for that’ being accepted as the norm. Studies show that on average there’s more than 100 apps and websites an employee needs to interact with on a regular basis. But what is the impact of this?

SCADA solutions have been around for decades and have been one of the many apps and programs used by operators, engineers, and maintenance personnel. They are seen as an essential part of the automation toolkit, but can often become a point of contention when it comes to data accessibility, interoperability, or data quality.

A utility’s SCADA solution is critical to the operations of its business, not only is it used to ensure proper plant operation, but it’s the vital link between processes in the field and obligatory reporting requirements. The latter is only going to increase, especially as the shift to renewables becomes more stringent.

With the introduction of IIoT, there are now even more apps and integrations to manage as many IoT solutions come with their own cloud platforms (and a cost). An IT expert is almost a mandatory requirement to help manage the data flows and different platforms and it’s not uncommon to have different teams with different objectives each seeking their own solutions.

More systems = more problems

With many disparate systems there’s more risk of errors, and more areas where information could slip between the cracks. Unfortunately, we then see redundancy put in to compensate for this blurred boundary, which then introduces additional costs and overhead.

The logical solution is to have the SCADA platform as the data aggregation tool. All information from the field should be fed into the SCADA platform and then it can be shared with other systems as needed. This provides a central repository with all information available.

Vision in the cloud

Yokogawa’s CI Server has a vision for the future which includes autonomy and reduced complexity. CI Server is a SCADA solution with DCS grade HMI and IT/OT convergence tools at its core, and this was pivotal in the move of a major New Zealand District Council utilising CI Server for their water infrastructure.

This installation utilised the CI Server Cloud Subscription which gives easy access anywhere anytime via mobile friendly HTML5 graphics.

The solution has the flexibility and scalability to grow with the council, and the native IOT integrations were critical in bringing data from the pumping and treatment sites via secure MQTT protocol.

Through the combination of the Cloud CI Server and the Yokogawa Edge processor, the data integration to existing Omron PLCs was seamless and the data presented where and how it is needed. It’s a solution that can be easily maintained with the existing workforce.

As the world shifts to more technology don’t let the abundance of disparate solutions become a burden on your staff day to day. Consider a single platform which you can make work for you.

This has been a sponsored editorial brought to you by Yokogawa. For more information, please email [email protected].

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