Whether it is power generation, manufacturing, or water/wastewater, industrial organizations are asking sites and plants to improve operations while reducing costs continuously. Luckily, reliable plants are typically the most cost-effective plants as well. But how do you improve reliability? One requirement is to have clear and precise insight into real-time and historical operations to ensure a plant achieves its maximum reliability.
To know the current state of operations, plants in the past relied on manual inputs. For example, plant personnel would walk rounds on the floor to check equipment and take measurements. With advancements in technology and automation though, sites no longer depend on analog data collection. Instead, sites have data coming 24/7 from across the floor to detail the operational status. But this ocean of data is meaningless unless it is turned into information by adding context.
A proven method to transform this ocean of data into information and actionable intelligence is through a data management strategy. Since the last quarter of the 20th century, data historians and data management solutions have been foundational for an organization’s industrial data strategy. These systems have been practical tools to connect the right data to engineers and analysts. But with the explosion of data access worldwide in people’s personal and work lives, the demand for equipment data and insights has grown. In addition, the growing user base of operational technology has resulted in the evolution and improvement of data historian features and functionalities to connect the correct information to the right people.
Regardless of the information a user needs, all users benefit from an easy-to-use and intuitive solution. In tech, software developers have dedicated teams focusing on user interface (UI) and user experience (UX). Data historian providers have invested more in UI/UX, understanding that a data historian must have accurate data collection and archiving coupled with intuitive data visualizations and analysis. To take it a step further, organizations use one-click monitoring to help improve their existing data visualizations and analysis.
With one-click monitoring, organizations spend more time improving equipment operations and reliability and less time accessing and preparing data insights.
What is One-Click Monitoring?
One-click monitoring provides meaningful information and insights on a dashboard or screen at the organization, department, and individual levels. With one click of a button, a user can view key performance indicators of equipment performance and operations. Though data historians serve as the centralized location for equipment data needs and provide various visualization and analysis tools, one-click monitoring requires additional insight prioritization, and planning.
When implementing a one-click monitoring strategy at your organization, consider the required capability and insights. This will help you get the most out of one-click monitoring now and in the future.
One-Click Monitoring Capability
Ensure historian capability for one-click monitoring. The easiest solution is using a historian’s built-in dashboards. A dashboard lets you view your entire operations at a glance just by signing into the system. As a result, a user only needs to click once to get the required information. However, all data historians and dashboards are not created the same. When evaluating the capability of your historian for one-click monitoring, consider the following:
- What data sources are available? All data historians provide real-time and historical equipment data, but some advanced historians can query data from third-party sources like a SQL database for additional context and information.
- What visualizations are built-in? Different types of charts and visualizations are better for analyzing and monitoring equipment. For example, users can quickly understand an operational trend by viewing a line chart, while a gauge provides an instantaneous read-out showing low, normal, and high limits.
- How is one-click monitoring possible? Whether through dashboards, automated reports, or websites, an organization must create the required monitoring screens. A data historian solution provider can help build these out initially, but you will want to have the option of updating or creating additional screens on your own without needing a team of developers. As a result, review the editing capabilities and ensure creating the required visualizations is as simple as dragging and dropping a widget onto the screen.
One-Click Monitoring Insights
Beyond ensuring your tool provides the capability for one-click monitoring, an organization must define what information is essential and meaningful. Data has potential value, but an organization must transform that data into insights for value creation. When deciding what are the required KPIs and metrics for one-click monitoring, consider the following:
- Who is the primary audience? Different individuals and teams will need specific metrics and insights. Therefore, providing an organization-wide view based on company goals, mission, and vision is helpful. Furthermore, there will need to be more specific overviews based on user requirements and responsibilities.
- What advanced analytics are available? Consider adding calculated tags and advanced analytics beyond sensor data from the floor and equipment. For example, calculate an efficiency or performance value to add additional context and insights. Or connect with other sources like a predictive maintenance tool to add an equipment health index calculated using machine learning.
- What context is necessary and sufficient? Beyond the KPIs and metrics, include the context required to use the information correctly from the one-click screens. Ease of use will not magically ensure proper interpretation and understanding.
Why Implement One-Click Monitoring?
Humans have a large capacity to ingest data and information and then act both consciously and subconsciously. Unfortunately, this ability is not limitless, and that’s where technology can help.
Concept: 3-Click Rule
Have you been on a website and been annoyed by the number of buttons you must click to do the simplest tasks? Or have you ever purchased a product online by simply clicking Buy Now? These two examples demonstrate the website design 3-click rule. The 3-click rule states that a web user should only require 3 clicks to find the information they need on a website. Though not an official rule (or even one based on quantitative data), the 3-click rule reminds website and software designers to keep it as simple as possible.
The 3-click focus on simplicity and ease of use is the same for one-click monitoring. To provide a user-centric data monitoring strategy, organizations should streamline their method for data access, analysis, and insights. By reducing the time needed to collect data and query the necessary real-time and historical data for effective monitoring, members will have more time for improvement and action. And just like the 3-click concept is an initial guide with final website development dependent on user requirements and needs, one-click monitoring provides initial operational monitoring at a glance that an organization supplements with more in-depth data and operational analysis as required.
Application: Human-Centered Design
Have you noticed that an HMI screen at one plant looks very similar to a screen across the country? One of the reasons for this is the automation industry’s acceptance of human-centered design. The National Institute of Standards and Technology states that: According to ISO 9241-210:2010(E), “human-centered design is an approach to interactive systems that aims to make systems usable and useful by focusing on the users, their needs and requirements, and by applying human factors/ergonomics, and usability knowledge and techniques.” Organizations can minimize the risk of user error by putting the user at the center of technology use. And it’s no surprise that much time and energy around human-centered design has gone into industrial control systems.
But human-centered design goes beyond control and is essential for monitoring as well. One-click monitoring recognizes the need for users to understand operations clearly and concisely in a snapshot form. Additionally, if more details are needed, the one-click monitoring connects to extensive data historian features and functionalities for additional investigation and root-cause analysis.
When deciding how to improve one-click monitoring screens, review the principles of human-centered design for best practices. According to the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the principles of human-centered design are:
- Suitability for the task
- Conformity with user expectations
- Suitability for learning
- Error tolerance
- Suitability for individualization.
Value: Form and Function
Have you ever struggled to turn on a smart TV without a remote? Or have you wondered why your new smartphone no longer has a port for your headphones? These two examples demonstrate the issue of too much emphasis placed on the technology form (i.e., how it looks) and not enough on functionality. It’s form over function. But in the 1900s, the concept of form follows function first became popular in the architecture field. Now considered a fundamental architectural principle, form follows function states that a building’s purpose and user needs should drive the building design. Originally for building design, this concept has expanded into other realms. These include areas such as hardware and software design. But for one-click monitoring, why not have the best of both worlds and focus on form and function together?
With one-click monitoring, users can evolve the function of a data historian to create a better and improved form. Data management and predictive analytics platforms are valuable tools for organizations looking to improve their decision-making with actionable intelligence. Whether it’s the engineering, operations, or maintenance team, all levels and layers can benefit from intuitive tools. Intuitiveness is the combination of the right information in an accessible and easy-to-digest format—in other words, form and function. Furthermore, the simplicity of one-click monitoring requires form and function to coexist to get the maximum benefit. By combining form and function for one-click operation monitoring, organizations can:
- Save Time: rather than doing ad-hoc analysis or data querying, one-click monitoring provides the necessary insights to those who need it. And one-click monitoring continuously updates the required information, reducing delays in real-time insights and giving more time to plan and act.
- Focus on Priorities: with less time spent on data collection, querying, and visualization, your team will have more time to focus on critical tasks and initiatives. In addition, the insights provided may also shine a light on areas of focus or attention for an organization, team, or individual.
- Improve Collaboration: a team can make connections and collaborate more quickly with improved data and insight access. This level of collaboration across an organization will bring in new and different perspectives and ideas to help overcome the challenges a plant, site, or organization faces.
How We Help
Uncomplicate your day-to-day using an advanced and intuitive data management platform with one-click monitoring. With HanPrism, organizations have a secure and stable data historian to enable one-click monitoring across the organization. Contact us to learn more about how we transform operations through digital transformation.