About a week before I started to write this blog, I had received a call from a customer who had a bunch of software development questions for a Water treatment control system here in Central Florida. As we chatted more, it became clear that his biggest questions revolved around their architecture portability and their associated development process.
In as much as this was a very distributed environment, I was not surprised to learn that he was currently using:
- 2 tablets as remote clients for his operators to carry with them.
- His control room used multiple monitors of varying vintage.
- The engineers had to occasionally take their iPad to use Remote Desktop into the application and take it with them if they needed to travel from plant to plant, or even within the plant.
His biggest questions were related to developing one application for their Remote/Mobile users and another one for their Control Room with dual monitors. We helped him get everything set up, but it felt like providence that this issue was presented to me in time for this blog.
InTouch 2017 OMI (Operations Management Interface) from Schneider Electric Software is a next generation visualization client, InTouch OMI is the world’s only Operations Management Interface that provides modern user interactions and is optimized to perform on every display screen–the first time. Moreover, the same content is graphically rendered on different devices while maintaining the optimum target device’s screen resolution without any application re-engineering.
In the case of my water treatment client, he already had created multiple applications for his two devices (iPad and PC) and multiple resolutions. Had InTouch OMI been released a few years earlier, he would have been able to take advantage of new game changing features with InTouch OMI. Let me show you what I mean.
There is a concept called Screen Profiles that exist in the InTouch OMI application with the focus of making different resolution settings exist within a single application. This exists WITHOUT us having to create a different application for each resolution. So with one application, and the same set of graphics and Galaxy tags, we are able to create multiple layouts by providing a specific resolution for each (iPad’s native resolution, iPhone’s resolution, a 4K monitor, etc). Once in their respective profiles, we add layouts with panes in which we contain our graphics. These panes are adjustable to fit into different areas of a layout based on how you want the application to appear when opened in that resolution. Each pane has zoom-ability built into it to where you can zoom in, and the other panes stay intact. After defining these multiple layouts in my InTouch OMI app, I can then create a multiple layout screen that gives me the option while in the application to adjust my layout to the Screen Profile (resolution) of the device that I am using. This can also apply to a multi-screen application. Let’s say that my default layout is set for 1920 x 1080, but I want the option to expand to another higher resolution monitor on my right. By defining a layout with the resolution of 3840 x 1080, I can supply that layout in my navigation screen to expand to a 2nd monitor, should one exist in my control room. This gives me the opportunity to open up another instance of the same application on the second monitor.
That is another incredible benefit of InTouch OMI to open another instance of the same InTouch application within the same session and open it another monitor. How can this be done? Let’s examine the steps!
- You create a Screen Profile first for the resolution (iPhone, iPad, 2 HD Monitors, 4K resolution, Single HD Monitor, etc.).
- Then, you create a layout which is a collection of panes (containing your content), that are arranged in an order based on the purpose of that screen. A layout may have a pane for navigation on the left, a header pane at the top, and a security window on the right, that only shows when you click on a little tab that is visible when you hover near it.
- Then, when you create your InTouch OMI application, you choose the screen profile, attach the layout, and then voila. The beauty of this is that you could create just 1 application with a variety of screen profiles (resolutions). When I change a graphic in the application, it’s reflected across the multiple profiles.
This saves developers’ time by not having to maintain multiple applications that cater to specific resolutions and devices. Now, I don’t have to worry about maintaining one application for my control room with 2 HD monitor, and spend time and effort on a slightly different application to make the same adjustments. It’s less engineering hours which means lowered cost of ownership and maintenance. The InTouch OMI application is now portable and scalable, allowing the engineers, in this case, to focus more on the business of treatment of water. Less development. More clean water!