Transitioning to a Wireless SCADA System
SCADA is a blanket term that stands for “supervisory control and data acquisition”. It is essentially a technology that communicates important data across distances. The ability to monitor and control processes from a remote location is one of the primary benefits of a SCADA system, saving those that use it time and money.
SCADA systems are often paired with a programmable logic controller (PLC) capable of communicating notifications (such as alarms and alerts) to the appropriate people.
For example, if a municipal water authority experiences a water leak at a pipe connection point, the water operator can be immediately notified. This saves unnecessary troubleshooting by enabling the operator to go to the exact point that requires maintenance.
What is Wireless SCADA?
Technological developments have leveled the playing field in the remote monitoring business. The introduction of wireless SCADA has made systems more efficient and affordable. So regardless of whether you’re a water authority that serves 1 million or 1,000 people, your system can still be maintained with the same rigorous standards needed to keep happy customers.
While SCADA technology has existed for quite some time now, wireless SCADA is a relatively new capability. One of the many benefits of a wireless SCADA system is that it allows operators to receive data in a closed-loop system, improving efficiency.
Closed-loop control systems enable electronic devices (such as smartphones or tablets) to automatically regulate system variables. So for example, if a lift station alarm goes off, the proper person can be notified directly and immediately. This drastically reduces the time it takes to get the lift station up and running again.
Who Needs Wireless SCADA?
Wireless SCADA is ideal for industries where the remoteness of sites would make wired SCADA prohibitively expensive. Running underground wires can get expensive in a hurry. Fortunately, wireless SCADA offers all of the perks of a fully-wired system at the fraction of the cost. The following industries have benefited greatly from wireless SCADA technology:
These industries require pipelines, holding tanks, stormwater sewers, and lift stations that traverse vast and diverse landscapes. Having the ability to monitor equipment health and functionality across these various sites is a huge time and money saver.
Not only is wireless the best monitoring solution for these industries, but it’s often the only monitoring solution – particularly in rural communities.
Types of Wireless SCADA Systems
While there are five types of SCADA systems, the focus of this post is on wireless SCADA systems, so we’ll focus on the two types of wireless SCADA.
- Wired & Radio SCADA: Usually located in an industrial plant, these types of SCADA setups typically use Ethernet, dial-up phone lines, and leased lines that access remote sites. They are used by landline phone dialers, whose days are numbered.
- Wireless & Satellite SCADA: In-plant wireless networks, such as WiFi or Zigbee, utilize point-to-point radio networks with repeaters (licensed and unlicensed) to transmit data. They rely on cellular networks (AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, etc.), as well as satellite networks (Iridium, Orbcomm, Inmarsat) to enable remote monitoring and control.
Upgrading to a Cloud-Based SCADA Monitoring System
Cost and disruption are usually the two main reasons municipalities don’t want to bother with upgrading their monitoring systems. No one wants to shell out money and have a lull in their system. However, upgrading to a wireless SCADA monitoring system is a seamless transition. It’s so easy that you’ll wish you would’ve done sooner.
For municipal water and utility providers, it’s not unusual to be hampered by budgets. Interesting fact: our clients save money when switching to our SCADA solutions. Additionally, they’re amazed by the ease our telemetry units can be installed and maintained.
We have several case studies that detail the efficiency, ease, and cost-effectiveness of switching over to High Tide Technologies for remote monitoring solutions.
If you have questions about our products or SCADA software, please reach out and we’ll start the process of upgrading you to the premier wireless SCADA package in the industry. We’ll put you in touch with a distributor in your area.