Q. I really enjoyed and found your article, “What’s Up With Apps?” (by Troy Burwell, July 2011) very interesting. I work for a relatively small manufacturing facility that employs about 500 and has some state of the art manufacturing processes and technology. The technology from building maintenance to individual manufacturing equipment comes with all types of data to support its functions.

This data is becoming more and more difficult to manage and also mine for proper operational conditions. It would be nice in the future if a central deposited center could be created to manage these systems with easy access.

Do you know of a resource that would work with our many different operating systems (building and equipment) and compile this information to a central point for viewing and alarms conditions?

Ed Chamberland
Essilor USA

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  1. There are many, with different communications protocols (BACNet, LON, ModBus etc) over many wired and wireless systems (Ethernet, MSTP – BACNet over RS485, ArcNet, Wifi, Zigbee) and other communications considerations such as XML, HTML- as well as data storage considerations, local server, cloud based. Once you find out the types of “connections” you can make with your various systems, you can look for a piece of front end software that will be able to manipulate and present the information in ways that are meaningful to you.

    Start by asking the question – how are my existing systems able to communicate with other systems? You subsystem manufacturers should be able to help you with that.

    There are a wide variety of components and softwares that can be cobbled together to achieve what ever is required, so long as you can get the information out of your subsystems. These systems range from the easy – to complex, do it yourself to vendor implemented. Cost is not usually a good indicator of value. Some expensive systems advertised as state of the art are great looking, but under the hood they may be lacking the features and capabilities you need. So don’t assume the more it costs, the comprehensive solution.

    Do your homework, find some local help if you need it and good luck!

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