The importance of upgrading your SCADA software in our evolving digital era

Some insights into the value of maintaining your Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition (SCADA) software as we advance our trajectory into the fourth industrial revolution

Posted: December 20, 2018

Monitor and Control

The importance of upgrading your SCADA software in our evolving digital era

With technology fundamentally altering the way we live, work and relate to each other it’s an exciting time for us all, with opportunities aplenty for harnessing an increasing bevvy of tools to help us streamline our existence and realize unfounded levels of efficiency. Like for example’s sake the quiet rewarding satisfaction of a hectic working parent, sharing slides in a global team meeting, scheduling meeting invites, whilst surreptitiously updating a Netflix shortlist and paying the odd outstanding utility bill - from the convenience of a Smartphone; all the while playing a (muted) supportive role on the sidelines at your daughter’s netball training. All efficiently and simultaneously achieved with the appropriate levels of discerning attention.

So Why Upgrade your SCADA software?

3_Why-UpgradeWishing the trusty Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) a happy 50th earlier this year was a timely reminder of just how far we’ve come from the days of relay-based control systems, with industry analysts predicting a colossal ‘80 billion IoT connected devices in use by 2025, helping to generate 180 trillion gigabytes of new data in that same year alone’¹. With such a proliferation of advanced applications monitoring and controlling an ever-expanding scale of remote sensors and data points, mobile devices and smart machines; maintaining the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) software sitting at the very heart of industrial automation systems is one of the simplest and most cost-effective ways to help unify operations and business systems, and ready organizations for the next generation in operational excellence. 

As our trajectory into the fourth industrial revolution picks up speed, here's a look at some more of the pros for upgrading your SCADA software:

  1. Cost – with the industry dealing with ageing infrastructure and the rising cost of ownership, a real-time lens into operational performance with software robust enough to harness an increasing volume of data, helping minimize downtime, shutdowns and preempt maintenance issues - is crucial in minimizing capital expenditure and maximizing asset performance.
  2. Compatibility - arming customers with the autonomy to integrate complementary technologies, applications and programs as and when they choose and eliminating barriers to interoperability is key to ongoing efficiency - particularly as SCADA software is ‘increasing its role as an integration and business intelligence hub’². Not forgetting the need for tight integration with Human Machine Interface (HMI) software empowering operators with next level data visualization and superior integrated intelligence.  
  3. Adaptability – as the industrial landscape continues to advance and organizations re-calibrate with a focus on future-proofing themselves and their systems for the days ahead, adaptability and agility is extremely importance for continued efficiency and long-term viability. The flexibility to scale systems to create virtual representations or digital twins will also be key as will the capacity to help organizations deploy a cost-effective step wise approach to digital transformation.
  4. Risks – in addition to benefiting from the latest functionalities that help empower operators to optimize efficiencies throughout the entire supply chain, ensuring SCADA software is current and in line with evolving industry standards and guidelines will continue to be one of the most important factors in securing critical infrastructure and helping to mitigate cyber security risks and other vulnerabilities.
  5. Support – in an era of such rapid change and evolution, ensuring an active support agreement is in place is not only the best insurance policy you could have in helping to maximize the value of existing SCADA investments, but also offers serious peace of mind knowing that as operations expand and evolve and organizations advance their digital transformations, support and advice is available – as and when it’s needed.

Benefits of upgrading your Citect SCADA software:

1_Bring-in-the-Advantage-of-the-Citect-SCADA-UpgradeCitect SCADA is AVEVA’s leading mid-tier and multi-site SCADA software with a long history of helping optimize engineering efficiencies. Greater operational context coupled with an enhanced user interface, mobility and integration capabilities; is now helping empower operators with more timely, integrated and actionable industrial intelligence to help fast-track decision making and optimize efficiencies into the new era.

In addition to some of the benefits highlighted at left, here’s a quick glimpse at just a few of the specific benefits of staying up to date with your Citect SCADA software:     

 

Superior integration capabilities:
Citect SCADA's current integration capabilities helps customers harness an increasing volume of data such as seamless connectivity with Wonderware Historian, Enterprise Historian, System Platform and Recipe Management - greatly improving decision making, helping optimize the supply chain and bridging the gap between business and operational systems. Upcoming enhancements in Citect SCADA are focused on tighter integration with complimentary software offerings such as AVEVA Connect; our world class cloud-based software as a service (SaaS) ecosystem, connecting and empowering people and technologies to drive next level business excellence.

Leverage the latest innovations and functionalities:
Upgrading to the latest Citect SCADA version ensures customers continue to leverage our best-in-class technologies and innovations based on evolving industry trends and market drivers. Our most recent enhancements are focused on simplifying and streamlining engineering with an intuitive context-aware interface and serious out-of-the-box capabilities helping both a younger generation and traditional operators harness an increasing array of data sets with superior operational context and insight. Following industry best practices for Situational Awareness, an in-built library of symbols, faceplates, navigation and alarming tools drive serious engineering efficiency, significantly reducing engineering time and quickening time to value while increasing operator awareness by drawing the operators’ attention to the areas that need it the most.

Secure remote access to data:
The ability to provide operators and personnel with mobile access to an ever-increasing volume of data is vital in helping to empower an increasingly remote workforce to mitigate risks and drive efficiencies, productivity and responsiveness throughout the organization. Citect Anywhere provides remote real-time access to Citect SCADA applications via HTML 5-compliant web browsers, ensuring access to process data anywhere, anytime on any device. As traditional monitoring and control continues to extend from the plant floor to the cloud, arming operators with real-time remote access to data will greatly reduce maintenance costs and potential downtime while seriously enhancing efficiency and responsiveness.

Seamless upgrade capabilities - Citect SCADA also has a rich history of upgradability from earlier versions with both online and offline upgrades available, helping customers ensure ongoing efficiency and seamlessly navigate their way to the latest available version.

More information:

 

¹ - International Data Corporation (IDC): Directions Conference (2016)
² - ARC Advisory Group “HMI/SCADA software in the age of Industrial IoT and evolving human machine interfaces

 

author
Written By
Deb North

Deb is a passionate marketing professional based at AVEVA’s R&D Sydney Australia location. With more than 20 years’ experience within the marketing arena, Deb has amassed a wealth of expertise within the industrial automation sector having held a variety of marketing and communication management roles within the Citect, Schneider Electric and AVEVA software business over the past 10 years. In her current capacity Deb is responsible for managing the global marketing strategy and sales enablement activities for the SCADA software suite and is the conduit between corporate, product management, field services and end customers.

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