Building SCADA and HMI Systems that Resist Obsolescence

Posted: September 16, 2020

When developing a SCADA or HMI application for any industry, it’s important to consider how well it will age. No one wants to be responsible for choosing a SCADA/HMI software platform that will require frequent redesigns to incorporate new technology or expensive investments in replacing obsolete software down the road.

If you want to protect your investment, it’s critical to think ahead and to choose a software platform that will be flexible as requirements grow and change. Here are some tips to avoid turning your SCADA or HMI into a money sink:

Will the person who designed the system be around forever?

In some cases, the person who developed the application will always be the one in charge of developing or changing the system. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. As personnel changes over the years, many companies have found themselves using a legacy system built around proprietary code, or a software that no one knows how to use. AVEVA has encountered this often, which is why we developed AVEVA Edge to be very easy to use and offer free online training and on-site training courses. Unless you know for certain you’ll always be the one updating and doing maintenance on your HMI or SCADA application, it’s good to look for a software platform with a low learning curve that will be easy for new employees or system integrators to learn and use.

Can your HMI/SCADA adapt to obsolete software or support new ones?

Some HMI/SCADA software falls short of support when it comes to obsolete operating systems, and when software is no longer supported they may demand customers upgrade to a new software line. While it’s important to make certain the devices running your SCADA/HMI are up to date, it’s unfortunate if the applications that have already been designed must be scrapped and redeveloped. AVEVA Edge not only supports older operating systems, but 100% backward compatibility means that if you upgrade to a new version of AVEVA Edge, you can use your already-existing SCADA or HMI application.

In addition, AVEVA Edge is always evolving to race ahead of new software requirements. AVEVA Edge tests and develops on new operating systems, and AVEVA IoTView supports non-Windows operating systems like Linux, and will continue to add more supported operating systems on the road to becoming truly platform agnostic.

Does your SCADA/HMI application make you jump through hoops to add or change hardware?

If it’s difficult to incorporate best-of-breed hardware into your system, it might be time to rethink your application. Some SCADA/HMI software platforms will restrict you to only a few families of devices and force you to continuously find ways to communicate with devices outside a single manufacturer. AVEVA Edge includes over 250 native communication drivers, and also supports OPC, and offers driver toolkits to develop your own communication drivers. With AVEVA Edge, it’s easy to plan for additional hardware in the application design, and AVEVA Edge can be used as a communication hub that allows many disparate devices or systems to share data with one another.

Does adding new functionality mean adding expensive new modules?

Sometimes making changes to a SCADA/HMI application can cost…and cost. Whether you want to leave options open for web and remote connectivity or scaling up to incorporate multiple product lines, a SCADA software that doesn’t include everything you need will end up causing additional expense and frustration. AVEVA Edge includes everything you need to develop anything from a single HMI to a sophisticated SCADA application right out of the box. There’s no need to pay additional fees to add web connectivity for tables and smartphones, alarms, trends, database connectivity, recipes, reports, scheduling, or any of the other features AVEVA includes with download.

AVEVA is always doing our best to think ahead so that our users can protect their investments throughout the entire lifecycle of an application. If you’re not future-ready, there’s no better time to start preparing than right now.

Learn more about AVEVA’s Edge to Enterprise Portfolio, updated for 2020


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