When selecting a new technology in the manufacturing industry, it typically comes with a significant amount of consideration and investment. The choice of technology must be carefully deliberated to ensure that it meets the needs of the organization. It is also important that the technology can be deployed securely to help effectively manage and mitigate risk.
When selecting visualization software, these are the three key areas that should be considered to help reduce risk:
1. Reducing Technical Risk
A visualization platform that allows users to generate proprietary code should be an important consideration for manufacturers who are looking to reduce technical or implementation risk. When designing applications, the ability to develop and use a library of proprietary code for specific applications optimizes and simplifies the entire process. Since the code has been tested, the modules can be deployed in individual applications that require trusted quantities. By utilizing trusted code, developers reduce support risk and promote expedited resolution.
A visualization platform that enables easy collaboration across development teams helps to reduce technical risk. Having a design environment that allows multiple developers to augment, develop and test the team’s work means allows for redundancy and prevents errors that may be otherwise missed. Also, collaborative development with a common shared repository, like GitHub, and revision control are elements a visualization solution should have, along with supporting technical risk remediation. Traceability and visibility allow users to see when changes are being made and who is making the changes. With revision controls, users can visualize and resolve any conflicts, eliminating errors or potential lost work. Having these controls embedded in the editor streamlines the entire development process and decreases risk by removing revision control issues from the equation.
2. Reducing Schedule Risk
Development and deployment time are reduced when teams work with proprietary and well-tested pieces of code. Since users aren’t having to start from scratch each time, associated costs are also often reduced.
Designing in standardized interfaces allows for information to go between software components in real-time and then up to remote database servers and then finally up to the cloud. Having these field-proven modules of intellectual property enables much quicker deployment, reducing scheduling risk, than having to “reinvent the wheel” every time.
3. Reducing Commercial Risk
Having a standardized set of developed, tested and trusted content delivers an advantage to mitigating commercial risk. Working with components that are comprehensively understood in terms of their function and deliverables, and that end-customers may already be familiar with, increases confidence in the robustness of the solution and its ability to deliver the desired performance and results. Applications developed using existing code and content that are fully proven both lower development costs and shorten product delivery times. Expectations can be managed better as teams are working with known entities, with minor modifications being made as necessary to fit individual scenarios.
One final consideration users should contemplate is the flexibility to run software agnostically on any computing device. Generally, software platforms are deployable to one or more industrial systems running Windows or LINUX. However, a new class of sealed Human Machine Interface (HMI) appliances is emerging that serve as edge computing-type devices offering similar functionality to larger, more expensive industrial PCs.
HMI appliances provide a common deployment environment. HMI appliances are also easier to support and use. Commercial risk is decreased because the smaller hardware package comes at a lower price point, meaning OEMs and integrators can be more cost-effective and competitive.
HMI appliances also help to mitigate costly cybersecurity risks. Since these sealed appliances have no exposed operating system, no antivirus software is required.
In closing, spending time carefully considering visualization platforms and how they support risk mitigation efforts can save time, expense, human resources and potential customer dissatisfaction.