Remotely view and analyze your LabVIEW measurements

Move your LabVIEW monitoring applications beyond legacy technologies.

The Internet and its technologies are constantly evolving. One of the most recent developments was that Mozilla announced to drop plugin support for the Firefox browser in 2016. Google already stopped supporting these NPAPI plugins on September 1, 2015 in the Chrome browser. Plugins, that have helped display and control third party software not built on web-standards such as HTML and JavaScript, will no longer be a part of the Internet’s future. What does that mean for developers in the field of test & measurement?

Legacy technology

Well, when we are talking about NI LabVIEW, it means that the remote front panels that you can use to display your VIs in browser windows unfortunately are a legacy technology now. While still providing an extremely convenient way to quickly view and control LabVIEW applications remotely, their application space is limited, as well. It is true that you will have to act soon in order to keep your legacy systems online and accessible. However, no need for anxiety, as third parties step in to fill the gap and provide modern, HTML-only alternatives to plugin-based approaches in remote monitoring.

plugin chrome

Any web technology based on plugins is a legacy technology. What now?

 

What can you use instead?

To answer this question, we need to back up just a little bit and understand why you wanted to use remote front panels in the first place:

So, what applications are typical candidates for remote monitoring or IoT platforms?

Let’s quickly examine some of the more common use cases that require some sort of remote monitoring platform:

map view

Map view of sites to monitor

  • Remote monitoring of lab measurements or production site operations
  • Distributed data acquisition nodes that need continuous monitoring and operate in remote locations: For instance this could be oil wells, solar power plants, or special machinery being operated standalone and moved around various locations over time.
  • Applications that require detailed condition monitoring, be it in product prototypes or sensitive equipment
  • Devices that need to interact with other devices or systems based on acquired data or trends in the data (Cyber-Physical-Systems, anyone?).
  • Distributed machines or devices that need to be monitored from a central location, for customer service or support purposes
  • Sensor measurements where events need to be detected and alarms have to be generated automatically from transient changes in the acquired data

Yup. These applications are all over the place! The truth is, it’ll be hard to find the one-size-fits-all platform that will fulfill all these needs while being flexible and adaptable enough to become part of your existing ecosystem. Also, changing or adapting existing code should only have minimal impact on already deployed systems and devices.

That being said, you should also consider potential benefits a new platform can introduce to your LabVIEW-based monitoring applications: enhancing productivity or even opening up new business possibilities.

Some advantages of web-based data management:

  • No run-time engines, plugins or legacy browsers necessary
  • Rich visualization capabilities with a clean, modern look
  • Live data view and historical data storage
  • Online data analysis
  • Events log
  • Manage different dashboard views for different users
  • Granular user right management for data access
  • Adjustable Alarms and Notifications
  • Other device/system management capabilities
  • Cloud-hosted or self-hosted data stores
dashboard view

Live dashboard view of a device

The LabVIEW Tools Network provides a variety of tools for different application areas. You can find test data management platforms, as well as remote control options for LabVIEW VIs. Similar to SCADA systems, continuous acquisition and monitoring applications might require a full monitoring suite, depending on your use case.

What to look for?

LabVIEW

LabVIEW VIs for providing the data remotely

There are some important aspects to look for when selecting the right online data management platform and solution:

  • What is the hosting concept of the platform (cloud vs. private cloud)?
  • Does it provide an open API for third party tools and databases?
  • Does it tie in well with existing platforms (e.g. LabVIEW, Salesforce,…)?
  • Does it scale well?
  • Does it fulfill my requirements of a technical data management solution?
  • What’s the learning curve?
  • Are there integration services?

 

Where to go next?

After examining the status quo of your current application, your requirements towards a solution, potential benefits existing platforms can provide and – of course – business constraints, it is time to evaluate possible remote front panel replacements.

Since web platforms could likely reach outside the comfort zone of LabVIEW experts, don’t hesitate to consult experienced professionals. Many monitoring platforms and state-of-the-art data portals provide functionality beyond a simple LabVIEW monitoring application. While they are easy to use and often readily available as SaaS platforms, migration efforts should not be underestimated.

Once you make the investment and dare the switch, you will be rewarded with future-proof technologies, complementing your existing portfolio, allowing you to remotely view and analyze your LabVIEW measurements in ways you never thought you could.

Sign up for your free daq.io account now and find out if it can be the right fit for your application.

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