Android Phones Gain Easy Access to Live Process Data

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ATS developer discovers a quick, easy way to put live process data into Android phones and other devices using the OPC DataHub.

Live data updating in Android

"This was surprisingly easy," said Freddy. "It took just a few hours of coding..."

Mr. Freddy Martens, a software developer at ATS in the Netherlands, has found an easy, Java-based solution for putting real-time data from industrial processes into a mobile phone or other Android-based device, using the OPC DataHub from Cogent Real-Time Systems. He has posted his story on the ATS TechLab blog, with instructions for other Android developers to follow, and links to download the software he used.

"This was surprisingly easy," said Freddy. "It took just a few hours of coding and editing XML files. Cogent provides a demo version of the OPC DataHub with a Java API, and the Android SDK examples are a good starting point to develop the front-end. A beginner Java programmer could also do this within half a day."

The resulting application lets a user enter the name of any process variable in his system into an Android cell phone and receive a live value that updates in real time. This type of application could be used for monitoring OEE data directly from the shop floor, adjusting setpoints on the fly, getting the latest equipment alarms, or commissioning machinery.

"On the ATS TechLab blog we have written the necessary steps, followed by a few examples," said Freddy. "The example code is easy to read and well documented. That should be enough to get started on this and similar Android development projects. The data connectivity side is all done for you, using Cogent's OPC DataHub."

The OPC DataHub gives quick, reliable, and secure access to valuable information direct from the factory floor. It is an integrated tool that can present live process data directly on an engineer's or manager's desk in a form most suitable: database, spreadsheet, or web page. It provides OPC tunnelling, bridging, and aggregation, and has a free API to support virtually any type of OPC connectivity required.

"The ATS TechLab blog is new and more posts are coming," said Mr Rob Valent, Managing Director of ATS Benelux. "The blog is our developer's view on products we sell or use. I won't be supprised if our engineers post more OPC DataHub related stories in the near future."

ATS is an independent solution provider for industrial, process and information technology users world-wide. They provide products and services for all three levels of the automation pyramid: control, execution and information. Since its foundation in 1986, ATS has been active in consulting, training, on-site engineering, projects, product development, and support activities for automation and IT systems.

Founded in 1995, Cogent Real-Time Systems is the leader in real-time cross-platform data integration between Windows, Linux and QNX. Customers include the Bank of Canada, Cadbury Chocolate and the European Space Agency. Cogent leverages its experience in real-time data communications to provide the next generation of OPC products.

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