Mobile HMI: Facilities Technician Accesses Essential Information

Nov. 25, 2014
A compact operator interface running on an Android smartphone securely monitors and controls compressors, lighting, air conditioning units and more.

Mike Hake, senior facilities technician at an electronics manufacturer in Bohemia, N.Y., uses a compact operator interface running on his Android smartphone to securely monitor and control facility compressors, lighting, air conditioning units, pumps, ovens, and other equipment at his manufacturing facility.

Hake says that the mobile operator interface makes essential information and important controls immediately available no matter where he’s located.

Hake created the Web-browser-based operator interface using Opto 22’s groov software. groov is used to build the interfaces, and the groov View app is used on a smartphone. The groov View app was designed for both end-users who wish to have access to their automation systems from a mobile device anywhere and anytime, and for machine builders looking to use off-the-shelf mobile devices as operator interfaces for their machines.

Hake provided the interface to several co-workers, who use it on both Android and iOS smartphones. He created user and group profiles so these authorized co-workers can see only the parts of the interface they need to.

Hake could simply run the operator interface in the smartphone’s default Web browser, but groov View gives him several advantages that he appreciates. In particular, the app doesn’t display the address bar, window titles, tabs and other things that distract and take up valuable screen space.

groov View has the option of requiring a passcode to restrict access to the operator interface. When groov View for iOS is used, an administrator also can lock the device in Kiosk mode (Apple calls it “Guided Access”) so no other apps except groov can run on the device.

The groov View app delivers a native mobile app experience for the web-based groov system. While a groov operator interface can run in any modern web browser on any device, the groov View app was developed to present the same scalable operator interface, but without the distracting and space-consuming address field, favorites, scrollbars, and other parts of a typical Web browser.

groov View allows multiple groov setups, additional passcode protection and auto-login, as well as the ability to select the PC/tablet version or handheld version of screens developed with groov (to make the best use of screen size).

Use of commercial smartphones and tablets in industrial plants or for remote access to plant-floor machines varies widely, but those who have found the right app often call it “a must-have tool” that “keeps me in control all the time.” For more, see “Industrial Mobile Apps—Who’s Using Them and Why”, for the results of an exclusive 2014 Automation World survey.

Also visit for an online compilation of other industrial mobility use cases with links to relevant whitepapers and videos.

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