80 Replies Latest reply on Mar 9, 2012 7:43 PM by Lonnie Bowling

    Viewing PI Data on SmartPhones (iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, etc.)

    jdouglas

      I would like to view PI data on smart phones. We’ve made asp pages that Smart Phone users can view using either our internet portal or intranet. These pages are simple html with a PI tag values. Like

       

      Current Grade: xxxx

       

      Current Speed: xxxx

       

      Power Usage    xxxx

       

      Etc.

       

       

       

      I’m looking for something that can trend PI tags and is out of the box, i.e. very little if any coding needed. We have some webpart pages on a sharepoint server, but the pages won’t work on Smart Phones.

       

       

       

      Anyone have information about Visual KPI? Website is http://transpara.com/. Also, a demo at http://demo.transpara.com/

       

      Thanks for any help.

       

       

        • Re: Viewing PI Data on SmartPhones (iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, etc.)
          aabrodsky

          Subscribing on the topic, also interested to see answers!

           

          I have installed Visual KPI demo from Transpara on my iPhone4. To be honest I think it is a good start, but not a complete and comprehensive product yet.

           

          Additionally, as I understand, you would need to set up a transpara proxy server in order to publish data from your PI in the internet for that program.

           

          Would be great to see some out-of-the-box OSIsoft mobile clients, like ProcessBook.

            • Re: Viewing PI Data on SmartPhones (iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, etc.)

              Alex Brodskiy

              Would be great to see some out-of-the-box OSIsoft mobile clients, like ProcessBook.

               

               

              I think if you read between the lines on the next generation visualisation tool from OSI the end solution will be a desktop & web solution (cue Laurie for clarification ).

               

              For VisualKPI you will probably be better giving Michael Saucier a prod (unless he is silently watching).

               

              If you want something simple in trending then as a starter take a look at sparklines.  Cristobal blogged about them on vCampus and there are plenty of examples and controls out there.  You would essentially then just throw your PI values at a sparkline control (using the PISDK PlotValues method).

               

               

                • Re: Viewing PI Data on SmartPhones (iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, etc.)
                  Ahmad Fattahi

                  Yes, there are many potential legitimate use cases for Smart Phone Client tools, among other things. Seeing values and trending are among the most basic. Notifications and more advanced analytics are also very much sought after.

                   

                  I will definitely involve our product management team in this discussion to share their angle on this. Clearly out-of-the-box solutions by OSIsoft is one way to go. Another possibility would be niche solutions get developed by OSIsoft partners, each with its own pros and cons.

                   

                  Let's keep this discussion open as it is of many Community members' interest

                    • Re: Viewing PI Data on SmartPhones (iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, etc.)
                      Ahmad Fattahi

                      It seems the best luck at the moment is OSIsoft partner Transpara. They offer Visual KPI solutions for smart phones. OSIsoft currently doesn't offer such an out-of-the-box solution.

                        • Re: Viewing PI Data on SmartPhones (iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, etc.)
                          Ahmad Fattahi

                          As a matter of fact I have already been planning to touch on this topic in a broader sense on my blog. I will post a short note about this soon to see what the Community thinks about it

                            • Re: Viewing PI Data on SmartPhones (iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, etc.)
                              ldieffenbach

                              I felt I should chime in, as I was mentioned by name ;-)

                               

                              While it is true that we have nothing on the bench that specifically addresses phones and other specific device profiles, it is certainly a topic that gets discussed at OSIsoft.

                               

                              Our tradition, as a company, is to focus on widely adopted standards and pursue them to a satisfactory level. I note our OPC-based interfaces, our SQL-based data access components, our history with Microsoft operating systems and related technologies as just a few examples of this history.

                               

                              Currently, there isn't a really clear winner in the phone world for business users. Should we pursue Blackberry? iPhone? Android? What about the new Windows 7 phone? These are all different platforms, from an application building perspective and the most I know about them  is that companies who build phone applications have to recompile their products for each and every platform they want to support. That doesn't seem like the best use of our time yet.

                               

                              As noted in the original post, it would be handy if something like SharePoint would work for phone-based use. That would make it a no-brainer for us to just continue supporting that platform, perhaps with some minor adjustments. Microsoft talks about this, but I can't say I've seen many folks doing it.

                               

                              Does anyone know of vendors other than our partner Transpara that are addressing this marketplace need yet?

                               

                              I'm happy to discuss further....

                               

                              Regards,

                               

                              Laurie Dieffenbach

                               

                              OSIsoft Product Manager

                                • Re: Viewing PI Data on SmartPhones (iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, etc.)

                                  One that springs to mind is from the good guys at Exele, where they targeted Windows Mobile.  Also, I have seen two internal client developments (one Java based that is pretty good) but they are not for the open market.  Someone once asked me about OPC Mobile.Net but I knew nothing about it.

                                   

                                  Am I being too simplistic in thinking that any new application that OSIsoft builds would do everything that it needs to from a rich client perspective and some form of translation layer is built on top to create different outputs (e.g. HTML) to access the same data (e.g. Data South Systems does this in reverse).  I don't imagine there would be a big list of translations required with HTML covering a lot of the market on smartphones - the biggest task would be creating a comprehensive translation layer that all OSIsoft applications subscribe to (e.g. a ProcessBook display sharing a Dataset with a Datalink report via the translation layer, with such a translation layer enabling translation plug-ins so OSIsoft partners can do some of the work for OSIsoft...I think I am going off on a tangent...again...).

                                   

                                   

                                   

                                   

                                    • Re: Viewing PI Data on SmartPhones (iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, etc.)
                                      ldieffenbach

                                      Hmmmm... I don't know whether you're being overly simplistic, Rhys. You're more technical than I am.

                                       

                                      My assumption is that when customers tell us they want a phone app, they mean they want to zoom around the time range and size of a trend, not just see a picture of it. I can create a picture of a ProcessBook display now, but I doubt that would be very satisfying for anything more than a monthly report where you don't expect any updates and you wouldn't want to look at that on your phone. If you want something that has function, you need to "make" something that works on the platform where you're using it. That might be a browser, for the most part, but phones and tablets have different viewing dimensions, so there is a need to consider what you can usefully view on smaller screens, etc....

                                       

                                      Many public web sites have a side implementation for phones (I'm thinking of, for example, ESPN.com where I can get updates on my favorite college team score on my phone). The phone site is slightly different than the full-on, PC browser version, even though I get the same information and function (basically). The opposite experience (e.g., I take a local commuter train on occassion and I want to quickly review the schedule to see if it's changed), where nothing has been done to provide an optimized phone experience can be really frustrating. I speak from some experience here.

                                       

                                      Microsoft spent a lot of time thinking about how consumption of information on a phone is different than what you'd do on your PC and the Windows 7 phone shows the result of that thinking.

                                       

                                      These are just some ideas that make me point at those of our partners who actually offer something meant for phones already. I imagine we'll get there eventually, I just don't know when.

                                       

                                      Laurie

                                      • Re: Viewing PI Data on SmartPhones (iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, etc.)
                                        Ahmad Fattahi

                                        Rhys,

                                         

                                        Such a holistic approach would definitely be one way to go. Another way of thinking would be breaking down the needs into many smaller niche applications developed and handled by OSIsoft partners and independent developers. Wouldn't it sound like a PI App Store?

                                            • Re: Viewing PI Data on SmartPhones (iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, etc.)
                                              Ahmad Fattahi

                                              In light of the recent Microsoft-Nokia deal here is another note concerning the subject.

                                                • Re: Viewing PI Data on SmartPhones (iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, etc.)
                                                  ldieffenbach

                                                  Anyone done more thinking on this topic? I know Lonnie was thinking about phone apps around the time of the UC...

                                                   

                                                  What would users want to do with a phone that involves PI data? Market research suggests that people use their phones to get status, to explore their location or to communicate. So, how does that translate to the PI audience?

                                                   

                                                  As a counter-example, I wouldn't expect anyone to build a complex display representing their production process using a phone, but they might want to check and see if everything in that process is operating at green light status while away from their desk.....

                                                   

                                                  I think the Transpara application is targeted at that status sort of need. What needs are still missing?

                                                   

                                                  Regards,

                                                   

                                                  Laurie

                                                    • Re: Viewing PI Data on SmartPhones (iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, etc.)

                                                      I always do some thinking, usually too much.  My most recent thoughts were in line with what you see with PI Manual Logger, having a lite version of a product running on a mobile device (or at least some meta data exchange of what data is to be viewed to different platforms - "Send to iOS", "Send to Win7Mobile" etc).  I was actually thinking of Datalink, you are working on the full client on a desktop but have to leave your desk.  You select the cells of data that you want to keep an eye on and hit the "Transfer to Datalink Lite" option that transmits wirelessly and then you can keep an eye on the data updates (via AF not PI directly!) utilising PI Web Services.

                                                       

                                                      Speaking of PI Web Services I'm playing with Cocoa/XCode right now...why do Apple make things so complicated...

                                                        • Re: Viewing PI Data on SmartPhones (iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, etc.)
                                                          Ahmad Fattahi

                                                          This would mesh well with PI in the Cloud too. Multiple devices synced with a central cloud PI which is also aware of the types of different clients and devices would follow the footsteps of many existing applications, which are very well accepted by the users.

                                                            • Re: Viewing PI Data on SmartPhones (iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, etc.)
                                                              Lonnie Bowling

                                                              I’m on the same page with a cloud experience. I have been playing around with the technology for a few months now, it is not easy for sure, but it is all possible.  I have been able to link PI Notifications to a cloud push services (which I wrote and deployed to Azure), and using the web service endpoint, push the notification out to a subscribed windows phone.  From there the user can look at various tags and trends.  Right now I’m diving deep into security.

                                                               

                                                              Of course this is a very simple use case and matches closely with SMS and email notifications, but the big advantage I see is the user is able to interact with a notification after receiving it.  I could think of many things that a user might want to do after being alerted when it comes to looking at PI data and communicating with others and it all could happen from the mobile device.

                                                               

                                                              It is a lot of fun to play around with this stuff and I’m learning a lot in the process, but it is a big job and any serious application needs to be deployed to iPhone and Android which means writing two or three (if you include the Windows Phone) applications.  There is no way around that if you want to stay native and provide a truly first class experience, which is what I’m interested in.

                                                                • Re: Viewing PI Data on SmartPhones (iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, etc.)
                                                                  mhalhead

                                                                  Lonnie's use case of working with notifications would be valuable. I would suggest including Blackberry onto the list of support phones; a lot of companies still use Blackberry simple because of the enterprise functionality RIM supplied.

                                                                   

                                                                  This does lead to an interesting issue regarding mobile device support. Keeping up with the sheer number of devices people use and rate at which they change would be next to impossible. OSIsoft would have to triple in size just to support the mobile device applications. There must be a better way? HTML5 possibly?

                                                                   

                                                                  Another use case would be access to preconfigured KPI tables and short term trends. It would be nice to link these displays to the location, so that when the person walks around the plant with their device it will show then the relevant information for that area. Microsoft & Google are already doing this with the street maps.

                                                                   

                                                                  Security will be a huge issue. Process data is now being pushed outside the bounds of the company. We are pretty sensitive about certain portions of our process data. You also won't want anyone to be able to use the same connection to penetrate the control system.

                                                                    • Re: Viewing PI Data on SmartPhones (iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, etc.)
                                                                      MichaelvdV@Atos

                                                                      In light of the discussion around all the different platforms: I think the Mono project is doing a great job at creating more cross-platform (and cross-device) .NET runtime.

                                                                       

                                                                      There is MonoTouch (Mono for iOS):

                                                                       

                                                                      http://monotouch.net/

                                                                       

                                                                      There is MonoDroid (Mono for Android):

                                                                       

                                                                      http://mono-android.net/

                                                                       

                                                                      There is also Silverlight for Symbian (does not work on all Symbian versions):

                                                                       

                                                                      www.silverlight.net/.../symbian

                                                                       

                                                                      And offcourse, you can use .NET/Silverlight on Windows Mobile and WP7

                                                                       

                                                                      If you look at the spread of mobile operation systems:

                                                                       

                                                                       

                                                                      It could be a viable option to create a smartphone application in .NET, and create (automatic) builds for the different runtimes.

                                                                       

                                                                      Speaking of PI Web Services I'm playing with Cocoa/XCode right now...why do Apple make things so complicated...

                                                                       

                                                                      Check out MonoTouch :-) 

                                                                        • Re: Viewing PI Data on SmartPhones (iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, etc.)

                                                                          Hi Michael @ OSIsoft (the programmer formerly known as Michael @ Atos Origin) ,

                                                                           

                                                                          What is the source for the chart of the spread of mobile platforms you posted?

                                                                           

                                                                          I have MonoTouch on my list to explore now, thanks.  Still it feels like taking a step backwards in time working with iOS...

                                                                            • Re: Viewing PI Data on SmartPhones (iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, etc.)
                                                                              MichaelvdV@Atos

                                                                              The diagram was shamelessly taken from this wikipedia article:

                                                                               

                                                                              en.wikipedia.org/.../Usage_share_of_operating_systems

                                                                               

                                                                              I agree with taking the step back. I feel the same with HTML5+JS (from a developers standpoint...)

                                                                                • Re: Viewing PI Data on SmartPhones (iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, etc.)
                                                                                  Lonnie Bowling

                                                                                  My general feeling is that to take advantage of the device capabilities a developer will be faced with a choice, program natively or make compromises.   I think good apps would be small in size and with a small team of developers with x-cross platform skills, apps could be developed for the major phones.  From there maybe an HTML5 application could be worked out to support phones outside of the major players.  I don't know if 100% coverage is required or even desired, I would want to look at the phone split for PI users  This would be a good poll for OSIsoft to perform to see what platforms users would most likely want to see.  Also, geographic regions can vary quite a bit, that is another demographic to look at.

                                                                                   

                                                                                  I agree that security should be the #1 concern here, and there are some very good solutions for Azure and I'm sure other cloud services too.  I have been looking into claims-based authentication and am working on a pilot app.  This can allow things like a customer's existing active directory to authenticate a user.

                                                                                    • Re: Viewing PI Data on SmartPhones (iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, etc.)

                                                                                      Sounds interesting stuff Lonnie, keep us updated on your findings and sneak peeks of your pilot app.  Similar to the one I saw on your Win7 phone at the UC?

                                                                                        • Re: Viewing PI Data on SmartPhones (iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, etc.)
                                                                                          ldieffenbach

                                                                                          Thanks everyone for taking up this thread again!

                                                                                           

                                                                                          If I may summarize some of the ideas put forth here...

                                                                                           

                                                                                          * It would be useful to enable manual data collection on a smartphone/tablet in such a way that a label on an asset (e.g., RFID, UPC code, QR codes, etc.) could be scanned to open a form for collecting data points for that asset on the device.

                                                                                           

                                                                                          *It would be useful to have a Notifications application for smartphones/tablets that would allow the recipient to interact with data about a notification. For example, see a table of related data values and/or a trend of same. A next step from such an application might be to communicate with other employees about the notification (e.g., send email, send a picture, send a text, make a phone call).

                                                                                           

                                                                                          *It would be useful to have an application for smartphones/tablets that would use the GPS feature of the device to show tables/trends of data from geographically nearby assets to get the operational status of those assets. (I think this one might need a little more definition.)

                                                                                           

                                                                                          *Did I miss any?

                                                                                           

                                                                                          You guys are awesome!

                                                                                           

                                                                                          Laurie

                                                                                            • Re: Viewing PI Data on SmartPhones (iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, etc.)
                                                                                              Asle Frantzen

                                                                                              I'd like to suggest that it could be useful in some cases to also store your current positioning data (latitude/longitude) along with the manual data you wish to input.

                                                                                               

                                                                                              Use case: Perhaps we could sell PI to security companies like Securitas. The one we use at our offices will inspect the building every evening - some time between 8pm and 11pm. To prove the actually came by (that is, when we're not working overtime) they bring their little barcode scanner and scan their way throughout the facilities.

                                                                                               

                                                                                              With a mobile smart device they could store coordinates together with data. One could even simplify it more by just taking a geotagged photo with the cell phone, and let the app interpret the EXIF metadata and get the location, time of the day, etc. from the picture itself.

                                                                                               

                                                                                              Maybe not the most versatile use case, but it's certainly a fact that if the technology is available - some smart people will make use of it and create innovative new products tomorrow, that we're not thinking of today :)

                                                                                                • Re: Viewing PI Data on SmartPhones (iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, etc.)
                                                                                                  MichaelvdV@Atos

                                                                                                  Asle has a good point. This would open up a lot of possibilities, for instance also for on-board car computers, delivery drivers, pipeline inspectors. a lot of different fields could benefit from geotagging in a mobile PI client. At this point, it would be no problem storing GPS data in PI, for instance in a string type or two floats.

                                                                                                    • Re: Viewing PI Data on SmartPhones (iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, etc.)
                                                                                                      ldieffenbach

                                                                                                      Thanks, Asle, I'll add that case to my list (collecting and storing geospatial coordinates). That also makes me think of other mobile device features that might be handy.... like taking a photo of an asset and storing that (with a time stamp of course) along with any manually entered data about it and/or geospatial coordinates.

                                                                                                       

                                                                                                      Mobile device cameras could also be a factor in the Notification scenario, where you want to communicate with someone about an event (in the alert/alarm sense of event)... maybe you are troubleshooting said notification and want to send a picture of the equipment in question to the person helping you investigate? Maybe you want to store a photo of the troublesome thing as a comment on the notification?

                                                                                                       

                                                                                                      Laurie

                                                                                                        • Re: Viewing PI Data on SmartPhones (iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, etc.)
                                                                                                          Lonnie Bowling

                                                                                                          @Rhys - Yes my app is extending what I had at the UC, but is much more functional, trying to take advantage of the newest technologies.  I love my WP7, programming in silverlight is such a great experience.  If we have a vCampusLive this year, I hope to have something to show by then.

                                                                                                            • Re: Viewing PI Data on SmartPhones (iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, etc.)
                                                                                                              mhalhead

                                                                                                              Laurie Dieffenbach

                                                                                                              like taking a photo of an asset and storing that (with a time stamp of course) along with any manually entered data about it and/or geospatial coordinates.

                                                                                                               

                                                                                                              I like this idea; I could see many use for it. Using geospatial data to add another layer of context appear to be qutie popular.

                                                                                                               

                                                                                                              Lonnie Bowling

                                                                                                              I don't know if 100% coverage is required or even desired ...

                                                                                                               

                                                                                                              I agree you probably don't need a 100% coverage. iOS and Android seem to be the dominate OSes at the moment. I think that you might see a revival of Win7 (and Win8 soon) mobile; particularly with the Nokia Microsoft deal. RIM is still fairly large in corporate SA but I think that they've fall of the bus and lost their way. It would be nice if Apple would get off it's high horse and incorporate something like Silverlight. Java Script programming never really got me excited; it fact I avoid it like the plague.

                                                                                                               

                                                                                                              The issue with thing like MonoTouch and Mono-Android is that you aren't really creating a Silver Light app but rather creating an application that incorporate silver light. From what I can work out the SilverLight engine is embedded into the app. Adobe I gather has done something similar with Flash on iOS to get around the whole no plugin requirement of the Apple App Store.

                                                                                                                • Re: Viewing PI Data on SmartPhones (iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, etc.)
                                                                                                                  Ahmad Fattahi

                                                                                                                  Thinking out of the box: social media is getting bigger every day (e.g. Apple just announced it is integrating Twitter in iOS 5). We probably want to make it easy for a PI mobile app user to interact with social media in some cases. Some organizations have their own moderated social pages which could be a potential destination for some PI values, pictures, or assets.

                                                                                                                    • Re: Viewing PI Data on SmartPhones (iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, etc.)

                                                                                                                      We should make this thread a sticky, it's awesome.

                                                                                                                       

                                                                                                                      Ahmad, I like the principle behind that.  For example, in an organisation with various units that are collecting data with their mobile devices (which we all defined above and waiting for Laurie and co. to build ) you could have a new style "message log" that is transformed to a Twitter type log.  

                                                                                                                       

                                                                                                                      - (8-June-2011 02:32:33) EngineerA just posted new reading for EquipmentA. [LinkToAFElement]

                                                                                                                       

                                                                                                                      - (8-June-2011 02:32:43) EngineerA noted EquipmentA requires maintenance, WorkRequest1234 created.  [PictureOfEquipment]

                                                                                                                       

                                                                                                                      - (8-June-2011 07:00:00) OperatorC just initiated ShiftReport4321.

                                                                                                                       

                                                                                                                      Obviously within the organisation you would filter out relevant information/tweets.  

                                                                                                                        • Re: Viewing PI Data on SmartPhones (iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, etc.)
                                                                                                                          Asle Frantzen

                                                                                                                          Sounds like the future is being planned right here, right now

                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                          Many things seem to move in the "social media direction". In Sharepoint 2010 Microsoft introduced a button in the top right corner of the pages, stating "I like it". The description is that it's easier for you to find articles you've "liked" before.

                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                          Now that's not too far away from another popular "Like" button. Sharepoint is already a social media, and my guess is that it'll adopt more and more things from Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn/etc.

                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                          And to follow up your log, when the shift manager approves the shift report:

                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                          - (8-June-2011 15:30:00)  ManagerA likes OperatorC's ShiftReport4321

                                                                                                                            • Re: Viewing PI Data on SmartPhones (iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, etc.)
                                                                                                                              Lonnie Bowling

                                                                                                                              I agree, this is turning out to be a great thread.  Geo-location, twitter, FB... it all comes together in ways that could be very meaningful and helpful.  I like Asle last log entry with the thumbs up, it is a simple but important way to let someone know they did a good job or something to that effect.

                                                                                                                               

                                                                                                                              Today I was listening to a podcast (".Net Rocks" very good if you have not listened to it) on the way home and they were talking about developing mobile applications; one of the guest made an interesting statement.  He said that an app should "quickly answer a simple question" so the user can get back to other things.  He has written over 100 applications, one being bus schedules for various cities.  You start the app, and using your geo-location, it shows you the nearest bus stops and when the next bus will be arriving.  I thought this was a great idea and example.  How to could this apply to what we are discussing?

                                                                                                                               

                                                                                                                              Here are a few that come to mind:

                                                                                                                               

                                                                                                                              Is there a problem with any equipment near my location that I could look at?

                                                                                                                               

                                                                                                                              Are there any notifications that require my attention and I can act on?

                                                                                                                               

                                                                                                                              I was just notified that an asset has a problem, what is the nature of the problem and what is the next action required? (maybe even be able to perform that action from my phone)

                                                                                                                                • Re: Viewing PI Data on SmartPhones (iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, etc.)
                                                                                                                                  aabrodsky

                                                                                                                                  Lonnie,

                                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                  I think that's a great idea - exception based actions/reminders/notifications - all based on geo location and, maybe, scanning a barcode or something similar.

                                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                  iPhone can scan barcodes, there are a lot of applications implementing that using back camera, for example Amazon App.

                                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                  So you would come over to a piece of equipment, run App, scan a barcode. Scanning the barcode (+geo location if required) would give you back info on that piece of Equipment - last maintenance date, active notifications, latest meter readings, etc...

                                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                  Sounds to me like something would be well accepted by operators.

                                                                                                                                    • Re: Viewing PI Data on SmartPhones (iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, etc.)

                                                                                                                                      We musn't forget that barcode scanning is already a part of PI Manual Logger, where you scan a barcode on the equipment and find the relevant tags (with some historical data) of the asset to enter data.  What is missing is the neat features of AF and other ways of tagging other than barcodes - maybe the future we talk about could be the next generation of 'PIML Mobile'.  

                                                                                                                                       

                                                                                                                                      Also, in some enviroments would an iPhone be classed as intrinsically safe?

                                                                                                                                        • Re: Viewing PI Data on SmartPhones (iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, etc.)
                                                                                                                                          ldieffenbach

                                                                                                                                          I love how this conversation has bloomed. The most intriguing part of a visioning process is brainstorming some useful problems that could be solved. Here are a few more from Chris Dumas @ OSIsoft:

                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                          Imagine, if you will ... "remote service personnel who need to use GPS/GIS data to locate the exact location where their service is needed (e.g. a compressor along a long NG pipeline).  Now this would be a cool feature for mobile apps.  [Here's] an example from ... a cellular tower/shelter manufacturer.  The cell towers are actually attached to the power grid just like your home.  So if the power goes out, which frequently does in some of the remote areas of the country, a diesel generator automatically starts up to provide backup power.  But once the diesel engine runs out of fuel, the tower goes dark.  So the manufacturer wanted to provide services to monitor the shelters they built for their customers by sending service technicians out to perform maintenance.  A mobile device application would be ideal that could direct the service person via GPS to the cell tower/shelter with a list of tasks to be performed, needed tools and materials.  This would save them a lot of money if it could prevent the service person from making many trips to the cell tower.  Even more valuable, if the system (not necessarily the app) was smart enough to plan and optimize the entire day’s itinerary including rollups of all required materials and deliver that information to their mobile device."

                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                          "If gas prices keep going up, then I think we will see an increase in the number of employees working from home to save on gas and commuting time.  I hypothesize that cloud-hosted applications and applications that are built for 'touch screen' tablet computers that run off the cellular network will replace the home desktop with an internet connection.  This may actually deemphasize graphical representations of the processes and may be replaced with actual live video feeds."

                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                          And another idea from one of our Product Managers:

                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                          "I think being able to get alerts/notifications on a smart phone/tablet would be great.  I also think it would be great to scan a barcode or RFID with a smart phone/tablet and then retrieving relevant summary historical data.  ...  One should also keep in mind that many dedicated hand held devices currently have specialized analytics already built in so if a person just happens to be in an area and sees a potential problem, he would want to do diagnostics on the spot and thus a hand held device with analytics capability would be a better tool."

                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                          Laurie

                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                            • Re: Viewing PI Data on SmartPhones (iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, etc.)
                                                                                                                                              ldieffenbach

                                                                                                                                              OK, now that I've shared a little more sunshine, I need to spend a little time with reality checking. Another part of any visioning process is understanding the business contraints within which one must plan any innovation.

                                                                                                                                               

                                                                                                                                              Some other OSI'ers have contributed the following ideas on contraints to be considered in imagining the sorts of interesting directions we've been describing here.

                                                                                                                                               

                                                                                                                                              First, consider (in the case of GPS-related features) that when one is indoors, it’s usually not easy, maybe even impossible in some instances, to get a GPS signal unless special equipment are put in place.  Also non-military GPS signals are only accurate to within a few meters.  Therefore, it’s impossible to unambiguously locate where you are with respect to several stationary assets that are stationed together (very likely in a process environment).  So in theory geo-tagging or GPS-enabled data collection or data visualization sound great, in practice there are hurdles that need to be resolved (for enclosed environments).  These are solvable problems.

                                                                                                                                               

                                                                                                                                              Second, consider for cases of manual data collection via a smart phone or tablet, I’m not sure why one would choose that over a dedicated manual data logging device.  The only scenario that I can think of is an ad hoc type of data logging where one just happens to be in the area and sees something unusual and he doesn’t have a manual data logger with him.  I don’t know how much $$ someone would pay for this.

                                                                                                                                               

                                                                                                                                              Third, consider that most of our customer base is strapped for both monetary and human resources. Given that condition, it may be unlikely that they would want to pursue a new set of technologies and tools. New technologies and tools require a capital investment, someone who understands how to deploy them, someone who understands how to maintain them and, in the case of the users, a new learning curve if the tools are different than what they are used to working with. These are considerable barriers to entry, but there may be design solutions to mitigate some of this.

                                                                                                                                               

                                                                                                                                              Let's chew on these constraints some as well.

                                                                                                                                               

                                                                                                                                              Regards,

                                                                                                                                               

                                                                                                                                              Laurie

                                                                                                                                               

                                                                                                                                               

                                                                                                                                                • Re: Viewing PI Data on SmartPhones (iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, etc.)
                                                                                                                                                  Lonnie Bowling

                                                                                                                                                  I will address the Geo-location comment.  I agree that the accuracy is not good enough for location within in a building (to a few feet) yet, but it would be good for a distributed use case in a more populated area. New phones can actually use three tools to figure out where someone is; wifi, cell signal, and GPS.  I think that geo-location is a good fit for an app focused for a utility in a city as an example.  It is not ready for everything discussed here, but certainly in some cases it could be effectively used.

                                                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                                  Earlier this year I was in the middle of the Mojave desert, one of the most remote areas in Southern California, and in the right spot my cell phone worked, and the GPS worked the entire time.  I was quite surprised to say the least.

                                                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                                  For in-building use cases, bar-codes may be the best option to get location today.

                                                                                                                                                    • Re: Viewing PI Data on SmartPhones (iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, etc.)
                                                                                                                                                      Asle Frantzen

                                                                                                                                                      Yes, the use of both wifi and cell signal works very well together with the gps signal itself, and it's so much quicker to get a reading.

                                                                                                                                                       

                                                                                                                                                      I helped a friend with an older Android phone to set up the RunKeeper app, and it actually took 2-3 minutes to find a good enough reading to recognize our current (outdoor) position. It is said to take at least 5 minutes to get the most accurate position the non-military gps service will provide.

                                                                                                                                                       

                                                                                                                                                      And with my iPhone I can start the RunKeeper app and start the activity immediately, because of the wifi and cell signals.

                                                                                                                                                        • Re: Viewing PI Data on SmartPhones (iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, etc.)
                                                                                                                                                          mhalhead

                                                                                                                                                          Laurie Dieffenbach

                                                                                                                                                          Also non-military GPS signals are only accurate to within a few meters

                                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                          I agree that non-military grade GPS won't be accurate enough for individual piece of equipment but it should be accurate enough for an area; the accuracy is normal in the 5-10m region. Unless you are in an area being degraded by the USAF. Galleon should be more accurate when the ESA actual launches the satellites.

                                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                          As Lonnie pointed out bar codes are a possibility, 2-D bar codes would also be cheap to install.

                                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                          Seeing that we are adding a touch of realise I should also point out that there are certain areas and refineries where you can't take a mobile phone; intrinsically safe areas are one, our Precious Metals Refinery is another.

                                                                                                                                                            • Re: Viewing PI Data on SmartPhones (iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, etc.)
                                                                                                                                                              ldieffenbach

                                                                                                                                                              Thanks for the insight, Michael.

                                                                                                                                                               

                                                                                                                                                              I was just reading this post on two different approaches to the cloud (www.zdnet.com/.../50245)... not that it is directly relevant to this thread, but the distinction they are making in the article is between applications that rely completely on being connected and applications that rely on connectedness on an as-needed basis.

                                                                                                                                                               

                                                                                                                                                              I can see this applying, for example, to manual data collection, where you might not want to be connected to actually enter the data (although that might rule out the sort of dynamic identification of data to be collected we explored above), but you would need to use the same application/device to store the data permanently.

                                                                                                                                                               

                                                                                                                                                              Other thoughts?

                                                                                                                                                               

                                                                                                                                                              Laurie

                                                                                                                                                                • Re: Viewing PI Data on SmartPhones (iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, etc.)
                                                                                                                                                                  ldieffenbach

                                                                                                                                                                  Here's an example of something a customer is actually doing now:

                                                                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                                                  They've built an application for morning operations meetings and shift changes in the refinery.  It runs on the iPad and iPhone and displays all key operational data for all refineries.  I understand the presentation is an Excel spreadsheet that provides Business Intelligence functionality.

                                                                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                                                  Laurie

                                                                                                                                                                    • Re: Viewing PI Data on SmartPhones (iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, etc.)

                                                                                                                                                                      In case you missed this:

                                                                                                                                                                       

                                                                                                                                                                      Garner’s 2011 report saying “Choose Windows Mobile over Android for ruggedized handhelds” see download.microsoft.com/.../Choose%20Windows%20Mobile%20for%20Ruggedized%20Devices_Gartner%202011.pdf

                                                                                                                                                                        • Re: Viewing PI Data on SmartPhones (iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, etc.)

                                                                                                                                                                          Interestingly, Microsoft has API mapping tools for iOS and Android so those developers can find their way round when developing in WP7...

                                                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                                          windowsphone.interoperabilitybridges.com/.../api-mapping-tool-iphone-ios

                                                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                                          windowsphone.interoperabilitybridges.com/.../api-mapping-tool-android

                                                                                                                                                                            • Re: Viewing PI Data on SmartPhones (iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, etc.)

                                                                                                                                                                              On the geospatial aspects of data there is an interesting article here:

                                                                                                                                                                               

                                                                                                                                                                              gigaom.com/.../how-google-maps-is-changing-the-face-of-data

                                                                                                                                                                               

                                                                                                                                                                              Maybe a nice extension for Coresight to have a Google Maps (or Bing Maps of course) control to overlay display data such as assets (AF Elements) locations to each other.  Lots of possibilities across multiple industries...

                                                                                                                                                                                • Re: Viewing PI Data on SmartPhones (iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, etc.)
                                                                                                                                                                                  ldieffenbach

                                                                                                                                                                                  Thanks for the link, Rhys. Actually, there is some potential for nice mashups using the technology from ESRI in SharePoint. That doesn't necessarily imply a mobile device (in fact, folks don't seem to use SharePoint this way, from what I hear anecdotally), but I do think the location aspects of a mobile device could be important.

                                                                                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                                                                  I'm currently hearing lots of push for iOS-based apps. RIM seems to be on the brink, but do you all still hear strong requests for this platform? Android also seems pretty strong at the moment, but the recent legal dustups may have some impact. What do you guys hear/think?

                                                                                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                                                                  Naturally, OSIsoft is currently most comfortable with the Windows Phone 7 platform, given our long and close relationship with Microsoft, but it seems clear that an iOS option will be needed.

                                                                                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                                                                  Thoughts?

                                                                                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                                                                  Regards,

                                                                                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                                                                  Laurie

                                                                                                                                                                                    • Re: Viewing PI Data on SmartPhones (iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, etc.)

                                                                                                                                                                                      Well I was sat watching an episode of "Lie To Me" the other day, in fact the last episode of the series before it was cancelled, and it was about this dating site where you could use the camera on your phone to look at people in a room, on the street and it would tag them with their username from which you could look at more information.  I then looked down at my iPhone and thought "how cool would it be if I could walk around a plant using the camera, see some equipment I didn't know about, have the image of the equipment tagged (maybe using RFID + location...) and viewing information & data about it".  

                                                                                                                                                                                       

                                                                                                                                                                                      Everyone loves Apple so iOS has to have something developed for it - the reason I recently bought a Macbook  Android seems to be hit and miss, I read somewhere that although Android has good sales it has between 30-40% returns on its handsets (don't quote me on that, I'll try and find the article).  I'm sure it will continue to be strong.  

                                                                                                                                                                                       

                                                                                                                                                                                      Personally I am investing some time in HTML5 right now, everyone is getting more excited about that from what I have seen.  

                                                                                                                                                                                       

                                                                                                                                                                                      I saw some good information on Michael Saucier's (Transpara) blog about web based solutions vs mobile apps...some good reads.

                                                                                                                                                                                       

                                                                                                                                                                                       

                                                                                                                                                                                        • Re: Viewing PI Data on SmartPhones (iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, etc.)
                                                                                                                                                                                          ldieffenbach

                                                                                                                                                                                          There's a lot of literature out there about the Web vs Native app question. Presumably, the advantage of a web app is it isnt' so OS specific (although it can be browser or device specific in terms of the experience users have with it) and the advantage of a native app is that it can make use of the capabilitie of the specific device for which it is designed and built (e.g., interacting with the camera, GPS, email, SMS, etc.).

                                                                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                                                          Many of the "cool" things we've raised in this thread seem to lean in the latter direction.

                                                                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                                                          The customers I know about who are doing something with mobile devices have so far been pretty content to establish a VPN or Remote Desktop connection to their internal networks and run something remotely that way. (Not an ideal experience, IMHO, but fairly easy to accomplish.) I think if this was sufficient for most customers, then there wouldn't be much for us to do.

                                                                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                                                          Laurie

                                                                                                                                                                                            • Re: Viewing PI Data on SmartPhones (iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, etc.)
                                                                                                                                                                                              Ahmad Fattahi

                                                                                                                                                                                              Laurie Dieffenbach

                                                                                                                                                                                              The customers I know about who are doing something with mobile devices have so far been pretty content to establish a VPN or Remote Desktop connection to their internal networks and run something remotely that way.

                                                                                                                                                                                               

                                                                                                                                                                                              IMHO this is the famous quote from Henry Ford "If I'd asked my customers what they wanted, they'd have said a faster horse." I'm pretty sure before the explosion of the apps in general, the majority of the users/customers were not thinking of the apps as the next useful and can't-live-without-them phenomenon.

                                                                                                                                                                                               

                                                                                                                                                                                               

                                                                                                                                                                                                • Re: Viewing PI Data on SmartPhones (iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, etc.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Just as some extra weight behind a HTML5 approach, the big boys are now heading in that direction...both Twitter and Facebook are releasing their HTML5 versions any day now:

                                                                                                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                                                                                  techcrunch.com/.../twitter-rolls-out-html5-version-of-twitter-com-for-ipad

                                                                                                                                                                                                   

                                                                                                                                                                                                  techcrunch.com/.../facebook-project-spartan

                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Re: Viewing PI Data on SmartPhones (iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, etc.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                      ldieffenbach

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Certainly there is a great deal of buzz about HTML5, but I'm not sure either Twitter or FaceBook applications map well to what customers do with the PI System in terms of interacting with data.... so their reasons for choosing this path may not map well to our intentions, other than the notion of allowing someone to review some kind of updated status that is sourced in a central place.

                                                                                                                                                                                                       

                                                                                                                                                                                                      However, I'm willing to be convinced. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                       

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Laurie

                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Re: Viewing PI Data on SmartPhones (iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, etc.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Not sure I can convince you just yet but I see there is a powerful feature to present "events" from the PI system in a private corporate twitter.  We touched on it earlier in this discussion thread but there is an opportunity to change the way we look at the data to selectively pick what we want to see and review what events are going on - and comments associated with those events.

                                                                                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Couple of key players in this would be Event Frames, Notifications and AF as an asset hierarchy.  Users in the private twitter are your usual Active Directory user accounts, so you can already start to follow key users like your boss/shift manager/maintenance engineer and see their tweets.  You would then extend this so you can start to follow pieces of equipment, a plant, a whole site, a particular reading from a key instrument, ... then any notifications (limits, custom end points, ...) or event frames (via the referenced elements) that are generated appear in your feed (e.g. pump offline, batch started, flowmeter limit exceeded...) with links off to the relevant application/system for further analysis - such as directly opening a Coresight display that is associated (defined in AF) with the unit (AF Element) that just tripped (Event Frame).  Imagine how conversations amongst engineers would change, "Pump 102 just tweeted that it needs maintenance".

                                                                                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                                                                          It is almost like a filter on top of the mass of data where you are looking for the events that will generate your interest is diving deeper in to the cause of those events, almost like the prequel to Coresight.  Obviously you follow the assets that are of interest to your job role; to find those assets you might want to use something like an enterprise search .

                                                                                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                                                                          If the PI server and AF server present their events (via the improved message log that is coming?) to the private twitter you could also follow the PI systems you support in the same manner.

                                                                                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Oh and you could build it in HTML5 like twitter.com are doing

                                                                                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Wish I had time to do a mock up of what is in my head...

                                                                                                                                        • Re: Viewing PI Data on SmartPhones (iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, etc.)

                                                                                                                                          Michael Halhead

                                                                                                                                          Another use case would be access to preconfigured KPI tables and short term trends. It would be nice to link these displays to the location, so that when the person walks around the plant with their device it will show then the relevant information for that area. Microsoft & Google are already doing this with the street maps.

                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                          Very interesting point, Michael.  In fact I like it a lot.  I know that some systems for data collection now use RFIDs to indicate which piece of equipment you can collect data for in your given location.  Wouldn't it be nice to be able to assign an RFID to an asset in AF (AFElement) and when using Coresight (or another tool) on a tablet to be able to search based on the RFID and get straight to the relevant data/visualisation for that asset.

                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                          Also, I see a few companies now pay attention to geographical data models of their assets and on systems like iOS you have easy access to location services; you could quickly have something just as you described.

                                                                                                                                           

                                                                                                                                          On the security aspect, I guess recommendations will start to filter out from the R&D projects OSIsoft have on PI running in the cloud.  Would be good to get some early feedback on cloud security from PI's perspective, I guess Bryan Owen is the man for this topic - maybe a vCampus webinar too?