How to Organize SCADA Software for Digital Transformation
If a business owner prioritizes data next to money, then that person is likely to be successful. In a world where modern and digital processes are prevalent, failure to cope can be crucial to a business. The road towards digital transformation lies in how well a business owner can manage the data and take advantage of it. One of the most advanced technologies that aid this innovation is the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system. This system has been around for more than 40 years already, but many industries fall short of adapting to the modernized SCADA applications, leading to undesirable results. Knowing how to organize and upgrade SCADA software to par with digital evolution can make one’s business become the forefront of the competitive industries.
SCADA Software and Its Generations
SCADA systems, with the help of Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) and Industrial Personal Computers (IPCs), paved the way for a deluge of industries for the enhancement, monitoring, and control processes. Operators and managers usually utilize SCADA software via the sensors, GUIs, networked data communication, PLCs, and IPCs to manage and transmit physical procedures, like intelligent transportation and traffic management. With the IoT (Internet of Things) and cloud computing technologies, the latest applications and system upgrades integrate with SCADA technologies towards digital transformation.
Over the 40 years, SCADA systems have undergone through four generations, proving its revolutionary capabilities up to this date.
The earliest SCADA devices functioned on large minicomputers used in a remote area. Back then, each system independently worked apart as there was no concept of the SCADA network. However, these systems became redundant as all the remote terminal unit sites have a redundant connection with back-up mainframe systems used during failures in the primary mainframe system.
The innovation of Local Area Network (LAN) introduced the second generation SCADA systems in distributed networks. By linking all the SCADA stations, the communication between two or more systems became possible and significantly less costly than the first-generation models. Although this progress allowed real-time data sharing, it also heightened security vulnerabilities due to the lack of standard communication protocols.
The third generation opened upgraded SCADA system dissemination across multiple LAN networks, utilizing standard communication protocol while drifting to open systems using third-party peripherals, like printers and disk drives. The concept of Internet Protocol (IP) also improved the communication processes between the third generation systems and enhanced the connection on complex SCADA systems even with large geographical distances.
Fourth Generation (Modern SCADA Systems)
Driven by cloud computing advancements and growth of the IoT, the fourth generation SCADA enabled real-time reportage from remote sites up to the far distances. With the help of WebHMI and HTML5, cloud computing fields implemented advanced control algorithms, increasing SCADA software’s security level. It pivoted improved and faster solutions not only in security but also in scalability and cost savings.
Benefits of Fourth Generation SCADA Systems
A SCADA market research report shows how the SCADA framework’s cost-effectiveness created a high global demand for these applications. While enabling site performance tracking, modern SCADA solutions also mapped data and useful information using the recent automation revolution. Before making amends, it is essential to assess and weigh how current SCADA software systems can benefit industrial processes and improve efficiency.
The extent of automation processes in SCADA systems ultimately brought a new and surreal front to the industrial space. Back then, employees had to risk lives to standby near industrial plants in unsafe remote areas. Now, advanced technological devices can do the job in monitoring and sending data even from a distance via secured wireless channels. This advancement also eliminated human error and allowed more accurate predictions.
With this concept, a more advanced method awaits SCADA architecture through a digital transformation. High-speed data transmission can further expand the limits of systems in a much affordable way. A wireless connection can evade high costs on analog transmission lines for long distances and risks of worn-out vulnerable cables.
SCADA for Digital Transformation
Instead of replacing the current system, take a different approach by building a parallel infrastructure with the existing installation via a software. Upgrading to new technology does not happen overnight, as it may lead to disastrous failure and revenue loss. In digital transformation, SCADA replacement must occur from the bottom with occupational therapy.
To avoid business disruption, conduct a gradual transition from the old to the new IIoT system. This method provides time to test the new system and ensure its stability before the complete infrastructure transformation. By adding features like alarms and history reports and removing manual works and clipboards, achieve ROI wins with these improvements.
A better approach for a data platform is building applications on the top, rather than coding on the operating systems. Choose a SCADA software with an unlimited licensing model to bring all data together anytime and communicate to disparate systems.
As the industrial world requires hundreds of protocols, communication channels, and legacy devices, it must have a mentality shift to keep systems interoperable, secured, and accessible. It is time to focus on infrastructures rather than protocols in terms of connecting devices. Implementing digital transformation must meet all OT requirements, providing reliable, scalable, and efficient solutions.
Possible Barriers During Transformation
No one can evade the barriers and mishaps in upgrading SCADA systems into a modernized model. However, being aware of these hindrances can minimize failure and losses during the digital transformation.
- Doubts about the new system
- Data silos
- Cost of licensing and unrealized ROI
- OT and IT gaps
- Cloud leverage uncertainty
- Increased data access without compromising security
To minimize the hindrances and adversities in digitizing SCADA systems, one must first know and analyze how modern SCADA software works. This process might be slow and gradual, but the latest methods’ perks and convenience can alleviate the risks of inaccurate and unsafe data acquisition and dissemination. Businesses that fail to adapt to these advancements always have a disadvantage in speed, affordability, and quality. With professional and innovative companies like Samsara, enhance your operational efficiency in a more convenient method.