HMS Industrial IoT Blog

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IT friendly remote access technology enables safe "virtual service techs' where travel is restricted

by Jason Sprayberry | Mar 26, 2020

 

remote access to avoid coronavirus

 

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As of late, a host of companies such as Nestlé, L'Oreal and Unilever have implemented travel bans affecting over 532,000 people. More are added to the list daily. The US has implemented a host of alerts and orders which are drastically impacting travel. However, machines still break or need servicing from OEMs/Machine Builders – often under required warranty commitments and Service Level Agreements (SLAs)

 

What can companies do who are restricted from sending service personnel to service remote equipment?

Any company facing the difficult decision of sending service technicians into a potentially unsafe region, should consider whether an industrial remote access solution might solve the problem for them instead.

HMS Networks provides a secure, IT friendly solution for easily accessing remote industrial machines – as if the tech were directly connected. Rather than sending service technician into a potentially unsafe region to troubleshoot a problem, HMS Ewon solutions provide a simple device which can be plugged into industrial equipment and can be quickly accessed via a secure connection directly to the asset. ‘Direct access’ means that almost any function that can be done locally, can be done from virtually anywhere – without ever needing a boarding pass.

For example, valuable functions such as diagnostics, programming and equipment monitoring are possible from a remote workstation (or even mobile device). The ingenuity of the HMS solution is that the technology does not reside on the automation network and is naturally fire-walled from the from the existing control systems - so end users can feel confident that the service work will not disrupt their process.

HMS Ewon products are ‘device aware’ and natively support most industrial ethernet/TCP/IP and serial protocols such as Modbus/ModbusTCP, Allen Bradley DF1/EthernetIP, OPCUA, MQTT, BacNet and more. This proven native integration means that rather than spending time troubleshooting the connectivity to the OT device, the service technician can quickly login and get to work.

 

But is it Secure?

Ewon solutions leverage industry standard OpenVPN technologies using a firewall friendly transport with little or no IT changes required. The Talk2M infrastructure (the secret to the easy access) + Ewon Flexy/Cosy solutions are ISO 27001 and STAR certified and undergo regular security audits to ensure industrial strength security and a highly demanding Information Security management system (ISMS).

Concerned about User Level Access? The on-demand instant VPN connection is managed through a global infrastructure (24/7/365) called Talk2M which provides varying levels of access to different device functions. For example, an admin might be able to update programming, while an ‘adviser’ may only be able to monitor the machine’s data.

 

Safer and Critical for Cutting Travel Costs

Whether a travel ban or restrictive high-risk environments, remote access certainly provides a safe way to access remote assets. However, there are big cost savings as well. The ability to remotely access a machine can solve an estimated 60 to 70 percent of operating problems, avoiding the need for local support personnel to travel across town - or around the world. The average cost in North America to send a Field Technician onsite to troubleshoot a customer machine is $2,200 USD per trip. Over half of those visits could have been done remotely.

 

What about Remote Asset Monitoring, IoT?

Although easy secure remote access is a key enabler for remote personnel, the HMS solutions also provide even deeper levels of machine data monitoring which can enable key ‘just in time’ insights based on Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) with real-time alerts via emails and SMS/Text. Routine operator rounds are often too late to warn of an

impending problem. Ewon solutions provide data logging and custom programmable notifications, which can monitor the factory equipment for anomalies, and provide an early warning indicator of possible problems – before they arise.

Of course, key data insights can only be realized if the data is properly integrated into relevant systems. HMS Ewon technology was created not only for ubiquitous OT connectivity, but also designed for easy integration into IT applications and Enterprise systems. Industry standards like OPCUA and MQTT are built into the HMS Ewon solutions and enable seamless connectivity into IoT Platforms including Microsoft Azure IoT, AWS IoT Hub, Siemens Mindsphere, OSIsoft PI, Inductive Automation’s Ignition, Rockwell/PTC ThingWorx and more.

 

Truly Industrial Grade and Industry Trusted

Designed for industrial environments, the compact unit provides a DIN rail mounted design for extreme temperature environments, wired or wireless (WiFi or 3G/4G cellular) WAN connectivity and a range of LAN/local options for plugging into industrial devices. Not to mention a 3-year warranty!

Known as the industry standard for Industrial Remote Access, HMS Ewon solutions have been in the market for over 15 years, claiming nearly 250K registered users and have even won Control Design’s Remote Access award 5 years in a row! 

 

Many companies are just starting to dip their toes into the true power of Digital Transformation and Industry 4.0. And it is clear with that the reality is finally living up to the hype – by limiting potentially high risk travel, as HMS solutions are making the world a safer place. HMS solutions provide safe and easy ways to enable business transformation from the industrial edge.

 

Learn more about HMS Ewon Remote Access Monitoring here:

Making the Case for Remote Access

 

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