Every now and then we hear about another instrument that uses a phone or tablet as its user interface. For example, Fluke recently announced Fluke Connect and last year, Oscium announced a two-channel version of its iOS oscilloscope. You can find many applications of instruments connected to phones at the National Instruments Community. Here's another example from imc Messsysteme GmbH.
The following article by Christoph Hammerschmidt appeared in EE Times Europe on May 30, 2014.
In response to the increasing trend to the Internet of Things and its manufacturing-specific manifestation, industry 4.0, measurement technology expert imc Messsysteme GmbH (Berlin) equips all its measurement systems and instruments with their own Web servers. The instrument thus gets its own "home page" which can be accessed and visualized by any smartphone, tablet, or office computer capable of running a Web browser, without requiring any specific software. The spectrum of possible applications ranges from employing a smartphone or tablet computer as mobile display, to controlling connected test stands within the local area network, to monitoring remote wind energy installations across the Internet.
imc's REMOTE Web server has a built-in Web designer wizard, enabling customers to create the specific instrument home page quickly and easily. Pre-built display and control building blocks can be positioned and connected with measurement channels and functions simply by drag-and-drop. Display options range from simple alphanumeric representation to graphical controls such as scales, buttons, and switches, enabling users to trigger measurement activities.
In case the measurement system is connected across the Internet, it is advisable to encrypt the communication between system and terminal. Toward this end, the software supports the https protocol, ensuring a secure connection that locks out eavesdroppers and other unauthorized access.
Remote monitoring and testing are state-of-the-art today, in particular in development and test environments, the company said. This concept enables data acquisition and reduction located closely to the sensors. The data then is transferred across the Internet or stored in the cloud. The vision for the future is unmanned, automated measurement data acquisition where the data is stored in the cloud and specific user requests are processed and generated automatically through intelligent signal analysis.