The Consumer Sector has gone Mobile. When Will the Industrial Sector?




The consumer space has already gone mobile. Remember that first flashdrive with 128MB of storage that was huge? Or the first time you got a smartphone with 8GB of storage and you’re wondering how anyone would ever fill that much space? No, then you should just skip the rest of this paragraph.

This super convincing chart from Statistica is the share of all global webpages served to mobile phones from 2009 to 2018. Mobile has taken over the commercial sector.

Everyone has a app, or two, or two and a “messenger lite”… Looking at you Facebook. We’re constantly prompted to download an app. Download your music, or TV shows to bring them with you. Now a days we’re looking at mobile first UX/UI and how it looks on a full size monitor is second or third in worries.

More people are using their tablets or Chromebooks with apps as their main computing source. To be completely honest, for the vast majority of consumers, that is as much processing power that they need to consume content. If you’re reading this from the Industrial Sector, like Corso might use every bit of RAM and CPU sitting in front of you. The odds are that many people within your organization or your end users organization do not. They would much rather use their phone or tablet to look at their control systems and live dashboards.

So The question becomes…

When Is Mobile Going To Take Over The Industrial Sector?

It’s certainly been trying. Be it Inductive Automation’s Ignition Mobile Module. Rockwell Automation’s Factory Talk ViewPoint Mobile. Siemens Simatic Mobile Apps… Or we could go on. All of these have been trying (and for the most part failing) at bringing their platforms mobile. Now are they technically making their platforms mobile? Yes. Are they providing the mobile first atmosphere that consumers have been experiencing when they set out the door? Not in our opinion.

No one has come close to being able to provide the mobile experience that consumers are demanding. Everyone know’s how to use the Facebook app before, (during), and after work. We should be able to provide them with an intuitive industrial solution that allows them to do the same at work.

Want to provide a solution that people use?

  • Make it simple.
  • Keep it intuitive.
  • Make it easy to use.

Ok. How Do We Do That?

First, we throwout everything that we’ve previously determined is an “Industrial Design.” Read things like The High Performance HMI Handbook, that George is doing an amazing job writing a series on.

Understand some basic UX/UI design. Google offers some really good free courses.  Or simply look at what the apps you like on your Phone, Tablet, TV, Computer, and figure out why they are good.

  • Start Minimalist.
  • Accept empty and negative space.
  • Use a few icons that are easy to understand and standardize them across the platform.
  • You don’t need 10,000 icons and a 40-color scheme that looks like it’s some combination or Easter, and Christmas, and Halloween.

Look at Google Docs, Forms, and Sheets. There is a reason why so many businesses are standardizing on the G-Suite, and it’s more than just the price.

What Are We Going To Use?

Use the best solution out there.

If your solution demands control, today, it’s learning how to develop on the web and using Inductive Automation’s Ignition Perspective application. What separates Perspective from all the other solutions out there? First it’s completely tied into the existing Ignition platform for true Mobile, Computer, HMI compatibility. Secondly, the security and authentication layers are built into the platform.

If your solution does not demand control, there are some other extremely useful solutions out there including Canary Labs and Flow Solutions. Now you’ve read Corso talking about Canary Labs and their HTML 5 Axiom Dashboards. See THE Full Canary series.  You may or may not have heard of Corso talk Flow Solutions in the past. Rest assured that we’re going to talk more about the Flow Solutions coming up on the blog. Their dash-boarding and mobile apps are in line with what we’re seeing from Ignition and Canary Labs.

Now, the development is going to be different than normal Ignition Vision clients. We realize this and have already started to explain that with 9 Perspective tips for Ignition Developers.

Again, this is not the SCADA System with everything now on a smaller screen. This is going to be the “Facebook” app for the facility.

When will Mobile hit the Industrial Sector?

Now.     Today.     Tomorrow.

The moment that the people making the decisions and managing the facilities realize that actual mobile solutions are possible.

We will leave you with a note of caution. A completely mobile first solution is not necessarily recommended. There are fantastic uses for Ignition Vision and other “HMI Style” clients. If you’re going to regularly use a computer to check on a process, a dedicated client is recommended. Using a screen as an HMI at a work station? Dedicated client.

Want to know more about Corso’s feelings on Mobile v. Dedicated Client? Let us know and we’ll get deeper into that in another post

Bonus, see all the Rolling Ignition 8.0 and Perspective Updates.