Your tablet is your new HMI

By Bob Vavra, CFE Media September 3, 2018

CFE Media file photoA year ago, Plant Engineering lamented the death of the human-machine interface (HMI), at least as we have known it. The increased use of tablets, smartphones and other portable devices has moved the machine-bound HMI to the back bench. That hasn’t changed the value of the HMI, however, and certain new rules and realities have to be part of the equation. As Emerson experts noted in the Mid-Year Report, “Different users across the organization will expect to have access to different information. The strategy for mobile HMIs requires a plan for addressing the needs of all mobile users regardless of their role.” Another key point is the collaborative opportunities—and challenges—of untethered HMIs. “The strategy also should consider what level of collaboration is needed between users,” the Emerson team noted. “Accessible collaboration tools can enhance the mobile HMI experience by providing those different users with better ways to share information with each other. The article offers five essential elements to consider with such a deployment. 

Bob Vavra, content manager, Plant Engineering, CFE Media, bvavra@cfemedia.com.