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The modern way to manage remote assets

Aug. 16, 2021

“When you are busy and you need the right tools to be effective, Geo SCADA Expert is the ideal software to help you do just that.” Schneider Electric’s Stephen Beadle presented virtually from a lush garden with bubbling fountain, driving home how the software can effectively connect you to your critical infrastructure assets wherever you—or your assets—are located.

To deliver his presentation on the new ways Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure Geo SCADA Expert open-software platform empowers remote working, Stephen Beadle, program manager for the company’s Process Automation business, spoke from a verdant green garden with a bubbling fountain in the background. He was as far removed from an offsite industrial asset as you could imagine, and that’s the point—tools like this enable the remote management of critical infrastructure, no matter where we’re located. 

“This is all about communication between devices and systems and people,” Beadle explained, introducing the evolution of this solution that can, as he put it, make sense of the complexities of industrial activities in the oil and gas sector, for renewable energy systems, and water and waste-water facilities. With Geo SCADA Expert, data is collected by single or redundant servers over a long-distance communication infrastructure and made available to local and remote users via integrated clients or third-party data-management applications.

Enhanced mapping capabilities, for instance, include information such as weather conditions. New indicators within the tool communicate device type—this is a pump, this is a valve. Popups within Geo SCADA Expert offer users even more detailed information about the asset, should the user require it. And, as customer Northern Ireland Water explained, the contextualization of the information organized by this software enables control-room staff to fully understand what is actually happening on the ground. 

A key benefit of the platform is that it reduces, redirects and simplifies the alarms to which personnel must react. This is, as Beadle labels it, the lifeblood of a SCADA system. Geo SCADA Expert enables a granular level of alarm management—they can be redirected based on geographic region or based on a holiday schedule; they can be configured to alert teams via email, text message or phone calls. Alarms can be tied to triggers for actions with external software. 

Beadle referenced a recent use case with an enterprise client that juggled 13,000 alarms per day on one system. “This can reduce that alarm burden,” he said.

The solution is fully customizable—parameters and filters can be adjusted to alert specific personnel about any particular performance indicator on any industrial asset. In this respect, Beadle explained, Geo SCADA Expert is the foundation for the Internet of Things approach at facilities, where it can be deployed on premises or via cloud computing, is scalable to millions of points, and delivers the right data at the right time to the right teams. 

The software works with a variety of historians, can be integrated with other systems and aligns with communication standards, including OPC, DNP3 and Modbus. (Beadle noted that more protocols, including OPC UA, will soon be added.) A robust symbol library enables users to build custom templates that can reduce their workload and simplify views. 

Users can upload data from Schneider Electric’s SCADAPack x70 Smart RTUs (remote terminal units) to Geo SCADA Expert databases. In turn, they can download RTU configuration information from Geo SCADA Expert to the Smart RTUs. This unconstrained, bi-directional exchange of files results in cost savings while managing remote devices. 

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The mobile app with the new software offers a host of features and controls related to alarms, tables and data trends while also tracking and reporting the users’ location. The web version of Geo SCADA Expert offers the full functionality described above. 

And Beadle and his team are not resting on their laurels. They are currently working on enhancements for the next release slated for the coming months. “When you are busy and you need the right tools to be effective, Geo SCADA Expert is the ideal software to help you do just that,” he said from that lush garden location, remote from any industrial assets but connected all the same. 

To learn more about how Schneider Electric is enabling more open, flexible and continuously current automation systems that enable safe and sustainable industrial operations, join this week's Innovation Talks already in progress, including this full presentation on demand.