For today’s digitally connected facilities, the type and quantity of available data is expanding rapidly. Visualization, automation, and information platforms must advance to help users effectively manage and access this data in a useful context.


My June Processing article, titled Augmented Reality: Seeing HMI in a New Way, describes how Emerson Movicon.NExT augmented reality (AR) technologies are improving user interfaces (UIs), while providing new and meaningful ways to improve the overall HMI/SCADA experience.


Informing the operator

Industrial manufacturing operators, just like the driver of a car, must be effectively informed to perform at peak effectiveness. Just as some modern cars now use heads-up displays to put information right in the driver’s line-of-sight, industrial AR interfaces using tablets or goggles enjoy the same types of advantages. AR

enables many new ways for operators to work:

  • They can follow step-by-step instructions, guiding them through a task, with access to all needed
  •  supporting materials.
  • As employees change roles or are onboarded, they can be trained with best practices.
  • Data originating in hazardous or otherwise inaccessible areas can be viewed safely.


The AR interface

AR interfaces require sufficient computing capability, seamless connectivity with both OT and IT architectures, and spatial/location awareness—all packaged into an easily portable form factor. They must accept user inputs via gestures and/or vocal commands, with little or no training required. The integrated development environment must support coordination between a central project and data server, with AR applications running as clients.


A degree of artificial intelligence (AI) services is needed to perform image analysis so useful data can be displayed and superimposed for operator viewing in real-time, depending on user location and requests. AR functionality needs to be scalable so it can address a widely varying range of requirements.


AR is more than HMI/SCADA

Whether users interact with AR via a tablet, using a heads-up display such as Microsoft HoloLens™, or some other means, the experience can be far richer than a traditional HMI/SCADA approach.


AR can present more information to a user than ever before, with a high level of integrity and unprecedented contextualization. Users of an AR UI therefore become more effective in their jobs and can make better informed decisions, with greater safety and at lower risk to themselves and the process.


Visit the Movicon HMI//SCADA sections on for more information on how an AR UI can improve your operations.


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