We have an App for that

Apologies for my prolonged silence however I will strive to do better.

I was at the ARC 2010 Forum last week as part of the 17 person press team and during many of the Press Releases it was interesting to observe that most companies with products connecting control systems to the enterprise and the roving worker (no distinction was given if this roving worker is an office or operator/maintenance person in the plant) showed an iPhone as this persons interface. Consequently, I started wondering if this is for real or simply a “coolness factor/image” to show the latest wireless interface. My hope is that it is option 2 – trying to be cool.

Granted roving data access could be useful, with appropriate safeguards of course. Though as Graeme Philp told me when he hired me a few years back, “You have no need for an e-mail enabled phone.  If it’s that important they’ll phone. E-mails and such will be on the server when you connect in the evening.” The same can be said for offsite support staff.

If you need access to a computer with screen you can actually see what is happening (my eyes are not what they used to be and likely the same is true for most domain experts asked to assist in an emergency) they are accessible in many locations, or at least the Wi-Fi connection for your laptop is only a coffee shop away.