This Week in the Process Automation Usability Project

The process automation community has begun to define a new standard in usability for the next generation of process automation technology. Ranging from Planning to Security to Maintenance, highlights of this week's ongoing discussions are summarized below.

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Security Forum
Is Your Management Showing Interest in Cybersecurity?
While one forum contributor believes management awareness is high given the risk of production loss and physical damage, another contends that secured systems often don't stay secure: "One wonders how many unauthorized entry points (modems or other) have been installed on the lowdown to allow otherwise well-meaning plant people to access the system from home or elsewhere."
Share your take on this important issue.
Maintenance Forum
Are Wireless Diagnostics Just Nuisance Alarms?
Among the issues addressed in this intriguing discussion: "If the maintenance department really wanted WirelessHART diagnostic data, why haven't they already installed MUXes?" Also: "Since technicians can do relatively little to repair a field transmitter--other than swap out the electronics puck --too much diagnostic data is really just a nuisance."
Register your thoughts.
Operations Forum
What New Ways of Process Visualization Are Meeting with Success?
"With modern DCSs we generally overwhelm the operators with data, but give them very little information--information being data in context...." comments one forum contributor. "I would love to know if anybody has had any success in trying to provide better contextualized, actionable information to operators in real time. What type of information is most useful, and what visualization techniques have you found to be successful?"
Share your experiences.
Participate in this week's Usability Poll
How would you characterize your plant's approach to protecting control networks from cyber disruption?
The options are as follows:
    1) Multi-tiered approach including firewalls, DMZ and edge-protection devices.
    2) We leave control network security to our IT department.
    3) We rely on physical isolation of control networks.
    4) We haven't had any cyber incidents to date, so system protection has not been a priority.
Visit the Usability Project home page to register your vote!
Got an Idea? Win a New Apple iPod touch!
Submit an idea for how to improve the usability of process automation technology using Flickr, YouTube, Twitter, or in one of our Usability Forums. Best suggestion of the week wins an Apple iPod touch!
» Visit the Process Automation Usability Project.
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