HMI in the Age of Industrial IoT and Evolving Human Machine Interfaces

Occasional Contributor

Building & Industrial automation today are elements that are steadily demanding greater connectivity, efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and added-value integrated function. However, with today’s hardware technology trends and increased software capabilities, the scope and functionality of newer innovations are enhancing, making them a much more value-adding contributor to a machine or process throughout its lifecycle, right from design to maintenance and upgrade.


A prominent example of one of these technologies which is revolutionising building automation and building management systems is HMI (Human Machine Interface). A Human-Machine Interface (HMI) can be described as a user interface or dashboard that efficiently links a person to a machine, system, or device. While the term can technically be referred to for any screen that allows a user to communicate with a device, HMI software is most ordinarily used in the context of an industrial automation process or when referring to building management. Here are the benefits of exploring an HMI today - 


Increases Productivity 


It goes without saying that HMIs will also increase the productivity & efficiency of human resources. Using a Human Machine Interface can automate tasks and intricate functions that were previously carried out manually by a dedicated workforce. Rather than putting workers under a physical burden by making them lift or handle objects by hand, employers can use HMI software to automate these exhaustive functions. Subsequently, this also helps free up labour resources, enabling these workers/staff who regulate building management systems to focus their energy on other responsibilities.




In this age of smart buildings and smart automation, phenomena like the Internet of Things and Industrial Internet of Things are playing meaningful roles in launching innovation-driven technologies. HMI’s can be linked to the internet to promote new forms of automation and modernisation in relation to building management. HMI’s can also connect to Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC)- heavy-duty appliances that are uniquely designed for manufacturing and industrial purposes. They offer effective control and interactions between humans and machines. Human Machine Interfaces can connect a vast array of devices and machines together, intensifying their ability to communicate while adding additional functionality to their functionality and processes.


Data Analytics


Not only does an HMI perform the task of actively presenting critical and information data, but it can also store & record it which enables future analysis and interpretation. This is particularly valuable in the case of analysing energy usage, appliance maintenance, and unforeseen defaults. Critical data on energy helps save critical resources and encourages an eco-friendly environment in the building. 


Ease of Use


HMI Displays promote convenience since these machines can be accessed with relative ease. It doesn’t need weeks or months of training and can be easily operated with some guidelines and procedures. Also, it can also be concluded that there definitely a comforting feeling associated with the use of HMIs. Workers experience more joy and job satisfaction when using HMIs - it creates a positive environment for staff. 


HMI is fundamentally a part of the broader scope of SCADA. To sum up, the main goal of an HMI is to display a graphical interface of any functioning machinery that is in operation and sees to it that the machine language is shown in such a manner that can help the workforce to understand the functions being carried out by the machinery.  HMI’s help drive the applicability of SCADA systems across various industrial sectors. #SchneiderElectric is a big player in this field- having established itself as a leading provider in the realms of energy distribution and power management - ensuring that #LifeIsOn.

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