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Real-time Visual Management for SCADA/HMI Applications

2010-01-26 17:18:59views: 993MOXA

Real-time Visual Management for SCADA/HMI Applications

SCADA systems allow the automation of complex industrial processes where human control is impractical. However, with all the raw data and real-time updates pouring in, it can be difficult to decipher what is going on and how to respond. All the numbers on your screen, flashing lights, and blaring alarms still leave you in the dark. Was the security alarm triggered by an actual intruder or accidentally set off by a new technician? Or maybe it was that darn stray cat again. What is missing from this picture? Simply this-the picture. As helpful as the raw data can be, they still do not provide the entire picture. The solution is real-time visual management.

IP video technology has become one of the hottest trends in the automation industry today, especially since automation and surveillance systems have both migrated to IP-based applications. Moreover, the integration of IP surveillance software with automation systems is gaining popularity and momentum. Coincidentally, integrating real-time visual surveillance systems with SCADA systems via IP video technology is now both a viable and affordable solution for system integrators.

The question we'd like to answer here is this: How exactly does the integration of visual management enhance your SCADA/HMI application?


Video surveillance is now commonly used with industrial automation applications thanks to the fast-paced advancement of IP surveillance technology. Real-time video surveillance offers automatic monitoring and control capabilities, enhancing remote monitoring applications with visual management. These capabilities not only save management costs for manpower, but also achieve total network automation.

Video images offer direct information and allow system users to respond faster and make better judgments. There are also many other invaluable benefits to real-time alarm videos, such as saving time and labor, decreasing system downtime, improving process control and operational quality, as well as achieving dramatic improvements in workplace safety since potential errors and personnel accidents can be reduced or avoided altogether.

The advantages of using real-time video:
  • See what is happening onsite in real time, even if no one is at the site. Save time and labor by being able to view equipment and the environment from off-site. Give engineers better information about dangers at the site before sending them to the field site. Record events in real time, even when it is not possible to check in person. Prevent sabotage and theft. The Three Architectural Layers of an Integrated Automated System

    Advanced automation systems require a high degree of management and control; this is where integration comes in. A complete integrated system provides real-time visualization, which is an invaluable tool for automation systems since it enables the "automation" of human sight and visual analysis for process control. Instruments can only provide a somewhat abstract indication of events, but our eyes can catch what instruments miss and tell us more or even different things.

    Networks for modern SCADA systems are migrating to Ethernet-based TCP/IP to provide better remote accessibility, integration capability, and easier deployment and management. This Ethernet-ready trend also applies to video surveillance devices. However, due to the complexities of video digitization and compression technologies, and the variety of video networking solutions on the market, system integrators may have trouble selecting and integrating suitable video networking solutions into their SCADA systems.

    A complete integrated automation system has three important architectural layers: the management layer, the operation layer, and the device layer. However, these three different layers use different protocols such as OPC and Modbus/TCP, making integration and compatibility even more challenging.

    Integrating Video Surveillance into a SCADA System:

    How Moxa's NVR Solutions Empower Integrated SCADA Systems

    The underlying factors of a fully integrated SCADA system are compatibility and reliability, which can be easily achieved with the right tools. This is where OPC (Object Linking and Embedding (OLE) for process control) comes in. OPC is a communication tool that facilitates the SCADA system to communicate with other external systems. This means that we can use OPC to build a connection between the IP video system and SCADA system, which are entirely independent systems.

    Moxa's NVR solution, SoftNVR-IA, provides a number of features that are specifically designed for the integration of real-time video with SCADA/HMI systems. What sets Moxa's NVR apart from general NVRs on the market is SoftNVR-IA's built-in OPC communications. Moxa's SoftNVR-IA is built for OPC servers to simplify system communication and integration. Through OPC tags, the status of the NVR, cameras, and trigger tags are easily acquired. The OPC triggers are listed in an event log, and this enables quick connection and retrieval of video for playback. SoftNVR-IA comes with Playback SDK, which allows for fast event record searches and video playback. Moxa's SoftNVR-IA empowers industrially designed VPortT products, and together with your SCADA/HMI system, gives you a complete industrial automation system that offers real-time comprehensive views for all events. This also holds true for very complex manufacturing processes and large electrical plants, and provides the information needed to correct errors and improve efficiency.
    With Moxa's NVR solution, you can:

  • Manage video popups, PTZ control, two-way audio, snapshot capture, and real-time video
  • Remotely monitor field video devices through Modbus/TCP protocol
  • Achieve SNMP trap and instant image snapshots when an event is triggered.
  • Manage alarm video history and exercise the option of assigning your web server to activate a web browser for video streams in the event an alarm is triggered (through SDK PlusT)

Rugged IP Surveillance Integration Products
Moxa's VPortT IP video products (industrial IP cameras, industrial encoders/decoders, and industrial video servers) support the Modbus/TCP protocol for transmission via a TCP/IP network, and because the VPortT supports Modbus/TCP, automation management systems such as SCADA can directly include VPortT products in their device monitoring system. This means that the status of the VPortT can be directly monitored from the automation system, as is done with all of the other industrial devices. As a result, system administrators no longer need to spend extra time and effort checking the status of the IP video devices through another independent video management system. A major benefit is that overall system efficiency is improved.

In addition, VPortT products are tough thanks to rugged features such as wide operating temperatures and high IP-rated housing, and the no heater, fanless design assures industrial-grade reliability and extended operational life. Moxa's VPortT IP video products are UL508/EN50155 certified, and Moxa's industrial IP cameras support PoE for power redundancy to provide users with maximum installation flexibility and cost-effectiveness.

Link: http://www.moxa.com/Product/video_server.htm

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