The mobile interface project forms part of an overall approach by the Idex group, one section of which is named iDesk. It is intended to provide agents with tools allowing them to monitor, control and optimise facilities with delegation of services.
After a complete market study, the national technical division of Idex has chosen the Topkapi supervision solution to improve the operating efficiency of its teams while streamlining costs through a joint engineering effort concentrated on a single software platform, able to address all types of needs. The data acquisition capabilities and the possibilities for interoperability with the Idex information system were key in the decision to choose Topkapi.
Why a mobile interface project with Topkapi?
Initially, the Topkapi software platform is being used to supervise large boiler room and urban heat network type facilities. Idex then quickly sought solutions to expand the scope of Topkapi to more modest facilities. Small facilities do not require a permanent in-situ presence, but monitoring for targeted curative and preventive interventions remains essential. Idex then focused its engineering on designing an automation standard together with a model supervision application. “Idex wants to open up accessibility to supervision applications, including for small structures, thereby providing them with remote visibility of the facilities requiring maintenance” explains Thierry Lajoie, Head of iDesk deployment at Idex.
In parallel, the technical division wants its technicians to have all the tools required to work on the move. “All business solutions must now be accessible on a smartphone. Operators have different needs depending on whether they are in the field or in the office, in particular for receiving alarms. We therefore needed to restructure the presentation of information from the field equipment based on the priorities, and specifically for use on the move”, states Thierry Lajoie.
A mobile interface made possible by the Topkapi Webserv2 module
To achieve its objective, Idex drew on the main benefits offered by the Webserv2 module:
- Its HTML5 design
- Its configuration interface integrated into the Topkapi software platform.
These two benefits mean that, in the same configuration environment and in the same application, there can be pages for office use and pages for mobile use on tablets and smartphones. Therefore, users responsible for configuring the application can use not only the usual configuration facilities, but also the power of Topkapi with, in particular, the possibility of designing generic objects. Idex has chosen to capitalise in full on this benefit, standardising the naming of its automaton variables in order to deploy generic objects on all of its equipment and ultimately to generate a large part of its application automatically.
View more with the Idex mobile interface
Thanks to its openness and the multiple communication protocols available, Topkapi meets all the needs of the Idex teams. BACnet, IoT, Sofrel, WIT, OPC… Idex can interface easily with all devices located on its sites, in order to use the data in its “standardised” supervision application accessible on the move thanks to its new interface.
The supervision application is already proving its worth. “We very quickly noted the operational efficiency of the mobile interface and the use of a standardised supervision application. To be precise, the time taken to produce a supervision application for a heat network comprising several substations was reduced to a third”, explains Thierry Lajoie.
Currently widely used in Ile de France and Normandy, the mobile interface continues to delight Idex agencies throughout the region. “We want to continue with the deployment in order to standardise our practices. In time, it could be used by dozens of users”.
The bright idea of the project
To ensure that the mobile interface meets the needs of the technicians in the field, Idex has decided to join forces from the start of the project with an agency specialising in the User Experience (UX). Its role? To offer the most ergonomic mobile interface possible, taking into account the specific features of the Topkapi software platform. After an internal audit phase, the agency determines the essential needs in the field in order to offer appropriate graphical mockups.
And if you don’t want or can’t have third-party support?
AREAL provides you with the key stages required for a successful project of this type:
- Promote multi-party dialogue (management, operators/users and project manager)
- Approach AREAL in the upstream phase of the project
- Conduct an internal audit to bring together the essential elements expected by the field agents
- List all the information required for the operator to calibrate their interventions
- Make a decision and simplify the presentation of the information