Tuesday, March 19, 2013

World Water Day # 5 - Staffing Needs For SWS - How Remote Monitoring Can Bridge the Gap

By Antonio Inojal, Project Engineer

Welcome to our blog series in honor of World Water Day on Friday, March 22nd! The United Nations declared 2013 as the “International Year of Water Cooperation.” The employees at AdEdge have a passion for clean water and providing safe drinking water for people throughout the world. Over the next week and half, we will be exploring some of the ways AdEdge is making a difference in helping the global water crisis.

In today’s digital age of the internet, smart mobile devices, and an ever-expanding cellular network, the water industry is evolving to make use of technology to improve how operators manage water treatment systems. Although the concept of remote monitoring is not new, it has certainly gained momentum by technologies such as M2M and VPN. Municipalities managing small water systems often do not have the resources to install a complete SCADA system to monitor all of their treatment sites, wells and pumps. Therefore they depend on their operators to arrange regular travel to remote sites to perform monitoring and check system statuses and alarms. AdEdge Water Technologies integrates advanced industrial controls technologies to bring remote monitoring solutions for AdEdge treatment systems.

The site’s internet access is crucial in establishing remote connectivity to the treatment system, and this can come in a number of ways. DSL is widely available by phone companies and has become quite commonplace. Alternatively where DSL or other technologies are not available, a cellular modem may be planned contingent on the availability of cellular service on-site. One particular drawback with cellular connectivity is that cellular companies are not likely to assign a static IP to a SIM card. This is commonly handled by quite inexpensive services likely DynDNS. Once internet access is granted, the AdEdge treatment system can be set-up to allow the operator to access the HMI’s built-in server through a web browser, which allows the operator to look at the screens in near real-time, move through the screens, and even make modifications. The extent of how much the logged-in user can do is based on what has been allowed in the set-up of the HMI. Moreover, the HMI can be configured to send emails when particular events such as alarms are triggered. One of the emails where the alarm message is conveyed may be the one associated with the operator’s cell phone, which can be used to send a text message; the latter is an effective alternative to auto-dialers. In addition, the HMI can also be accessed through mobile devices such as iPhones and iPads, which allow operators to be at one job-site and “respond” using their phone to issues occurring at another site without having to actually travel there. The possibilities are growing; our generation is becoming more mobile and tech-savvy. AdEdge is helping the water industry become more connected.

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