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WinCC OA User Days 2011: New pieces of the puzzle for the future

How will the world have developed by 2030? Which technological trends will influence the development of Scada systems? Which requirements will Scada systems have to tackle in 2030? Answers to these and other questions were discussed by international participants at this year's WinCC OA User Days 2011 in Ravenna.

Ravenna, the capital of the Italian province of Emilia Romagna is the city of mosaics. The buildings with the best-preserved wall mosaics in the world and many other historical sights have therefore been recognized by Unesco as World Heritage Cultural Sites. This was one reason for ETM to present the latest piece of the puzzle, Version 3.10 of the Simatic WinCC Open Architecture Scada software to users, system integrators and system partners in this historically-rich location. Over 120 participants from countries such as China, Germany, France, India, Italy, The Netherlands, Austria, Spain and the USA took the opportunity to experience the latest from WinCC Open Architecture and to exchange ideas with other users.

Vision 2030
The participants found the presentation by sales and marketing manager Bernd Staufer regarding the outlook in 2030 particularly exciting. How will the world have developed by then and how must modern Scada systems, in this case WinCC Open Architecture, be adapted to this development? In his explanation, Mr. Staufer first outlined the key factors which will shape the world in 2030. This included the increase in the global population, climate changes, globalization and rising energy requirements as well as rapid technical development. New requirements result from this, such as management technologies for mega infrastructures, energy efficiency, renewable energies, globally-distributed supervisory systems (hypervision systems), increasingly large data volumes or the integration of life-extending technologies (e.g. nano technology).

Ancestry has a future
Following this, with the aid of projects already completed with WinCC Open Architecture, Bernd Staufer supported his argument that ETM has observed these trends for a long time and is therefore advancing the development of its Scada systems in this direction. CEO Bernhard Reichl, who believes that the foundation of a product which has been successful for 26 years is primarily the cooperation with clients and partners, also confirmed this theory. A further piece of the puzzle in the success story is the new home of Siemens: since the complete takeover, ETM has been able to expand its business by 20 percent every year. Thanks to the strategic positioning as Scada provider for clients with particularly specific, very large and highly complex requirements, ETM has already been able to achieve remarkable international success, with the help of its parent company. In order to ensure efficient support for its users, centres of excellence have been opened this financial year in The Netherlands (North and Western Europe), in Germany, the USA and in China. Bernhard Reichl also informed the participants that ETM would be in charge of the important development of a new Scada runtime kernel for the Siemens-Division Industry Automation in Eisenstadt.

The next step
WinCC Open Architecture Product Manager Sebastian Massinger then introduced the participants to the current innovations in Version 3.10, which has just been released. There is now a completely new diagnostic tool available that supplies even more information. The processing of external alarms is also new. The protection of knowledge and expertise and overall user-friendliness has been improved. Furthermore, Mr. Massinger pointed out that connectivity had been further extended by a significant margin: new functionalities were thus implemented in the Simatic S7, IEC104, SNMP and BACnet drivers. More information can be found here.

Outlook
WinCC Open Architecture Head of Development Günther Zoffmann also gave an insight into the future with the Product Roadmap. Functionality should be developed further according to these plans. There should also be a place for an Ultralight Web Client, as well as a development and version management system for systems distributed across the wide areas and also rapid engineering together with S7 hardware. In addition, user friendliness and flexibility should be significantly improved. The developers see this as including optimized concepts for the engineering of widely distributed systems, driver upgrades and optimized user guidance for first-time users. The development will be fully focused on future requirements. Therefore, future load scenarios are now being considered and the implementation of many hundreds of decentralized positioned systems and an import of engineering data from the Siemens TIA Portal should also be possible.

Tried and tested
The WinCC OA User Days 2011 were extended with technical workshops and interesting practice reports from projects which have been carried out successfully with WinCC Open Architecture worldwide. The tour of the HERA S.p.A control centre in Forli, located nearby, was a particularly interesting part of the program. As the leading supplier of water and energy and as a service provider for public infrastructure facilities, HERA is responsible for the entire Emilia Romagna region. The availability of the equipment and, of course, the management system must also be appropriately high. The persons responsible opted for WinCC Open Architecture since the security of water and gas provision is ensured by the Disaster Recovery System. This feature extends the simple redundancy to a dual redundant system, which can be switched to in the event of an incident (e.g. fire or explosion in the primary system building). This decision resulted in a satisfactory conclusion for the persons responsible: since the commissioning, the system, installed in only 4 months, had not malfunctioned for a single second. Additional highlight: for the purpose of visualization, the 60 users have an imposing video wall measuring 85 m2 available to them – currently the largest in Italy.

All in all, during these User Days, ETM demonstrated not only an insight into 2030, but also showed that they are best prepared today for tomorrows' requirements.

Due to the very good feedback from our customers and partners, the WinCC OA User Days 2011 in Ravenna have been a great success! We are looking forward to the User Days 2012!

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