Siemens on Board with Windows VISTA
Siemens has become the latest SCADA vendor to provide support for Windows Vista with the release of WinCC 7.0, although its hedging its bets by continuing to support Windows XP and Windows 2000. While earlier Vista supporters among the SCADA community have majored on the enhanced security aspects of Vista and have therefore made a point of obtaining Vista-certified status, Siemens has followed the route taken earlier by Yokogawa with its Centum VP DCS and focused on the graphics enhancements and, notably, the ability to provide image shadows and animated GIFs. Enhanced operator functionality includes onscreen hover effects that change the color of fields as they are touched by the cursor and a glass effect that displays fields semitransparently. Somewhat confusingly, however, these Vista effects are also available in the Windows XP and Windows 2000 versions. Other enhancements in the release include simplified language switching, new analysis functions and an integrated archive database. Siemens has also announced enhancements to its Simatic PCS 7 Lab system. Among them is the integration of the ET200pro distributed I/O device, enabling equipment such as scales or mixers to be simply connected. Also included are special drivers for such equipment as well as an SER module for supporting eight additional serial RS 232C devices.