Cloud computing–a computing solution that utilizes the Internet to access files on remote servers–continues to show momentum. Software Toolbox, an industrial automation software supplier, has launched Industrial Falcon, a cloud computing-based solution that enables customers to view raw data from any OPC server via a Web browser. Industrial Falcon eliminates the need for customers to maintain Web servers, is highly scalable and allows access to multiple users without additional costs. The solution also provides a central repository for data where changes to a system or operation can be made and easily propagated to other users accessing the repository.

“Ultimately, companies are seeing the benefit of cloud-based solutions because they free up resources for other aspects of an operation,” said Kevin Rutherford, brand manager for Industrial Falcon at Software Toolbox. “With cloud-based business intelligence solutions such as Industrial Falcon, customers can reduce or even eliminate capital expenditures such as physical hardware and the need for individuals to operate and maintain those solutions. Customers can simply connect as many instances of Industrial Falcon OPC Client to as many OPC servers they need.”

Industrial Falcon is a combination of two separate configuration components that enable customers to access live and historical process data from anywhere via an Internet connection. Industrial Falcon OPC Client is a cloud connector for OPC data using industry-standard OPC technology which enables users to access any OPC server that is collecting live process data. That data is then transferred to the Industrial Falcon Online Repository for storing. The Industrial Falcon Web Interface can be configured to direct how much and how often data is stored on the server. It provides HMI-type visualization of data that can be accessed anywhere via the Web.

The software accesses raw data from I/O sources and streams it to a Web server where a customer has the ability to configure Web pages to display data for trending or viewing purposes. Industrial Falcon also eliminates IT issues typically associated with exposing process data at external locations, such as opening TCP ports in the firewall and enabling remote access, all of which introduce potential security vulnerabilities.

“Industrial Falcon provides the tools customers need to remotely control applications without having to change local network settings and there is no need for a static IP address or a dedicated Web server,” Rutherford said. “The application enables companies to operate leaner and more cost effectively in this tough economic climate.”

Industrial Falcon provides simple controls for accessing and displaying raw data and features basic drag-and-drop controls for easy visualization of raw data values, charting and trending of accumulated historical data for data points. Industrial Falcon Online Repository allows customization for storage of historical data based on specific customer-selected variables. Users have the ability to create visualization pages for displaying live and/or historical data such as value displays, gauges and trends. Customers can monitor and record process settings when they change and display alarm conditions.

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