The more we change things, the more they seem same. Nevertheless, most changes inch us forward into new developments and new futures. IO clouds seem the most logical next step, bringing about a wonderful array of options for all the stakeholders in the Instrument and Control systems world.
When we look at the net effect that an IO cloud system will have on the instrumentation and control world, it may be far reaching.
Field Controllers. We will return to the past of ‘at field location control’. If we recall the old pneumatic indicating field controllers… well we would have field controllers that have advanced functionality.
Values would be transmitted to the control room-remote location as had happened with the advent of central control rooms.
Control room or such remote equipment would do advanced processing, provide manual intervention and pass information to field devices.
Field devices would control based on a best-fit algorithm of some kind.
Something similar to Fieldbus engineering would be more important.
Advanced Control. There would be an overall simplification of advanced controls. The focus of control room equipment would shift from basic engineering to advanced engineering.
There would be a method of formalizing many of the existing good practices followed by few today. Operator actions could be studied and incorporated as advanced controls.
Engineers would have a wider choice of tools for better process control. Process control would take basic (core PID etc), strategic (snapshots, last values, etc.), economic (multivariable, others), quality (multivariable, swaps, others) to higher levels.
Change Our Outlook of Reliability. Focus would shift to availability and communicability over multiple paths. More strategic thinking has to be incorporated into base design of control systems.
Bring about More Economic and Quality Benefits. Base systems would probably require same amount of engineering as current systems. There would be possibility of adding snapshot controllers, economic controllers, and quality controllers as add-ons at later stages.
Or, at the initial stage itself, the complete system would be engineered to give best economic and quality benefits, making the plant more economically viable and add incremental benefits all along the way.
More Applet and Widget Orientation. IO clouds would bring about the possibility of more applet and widget development in the control system environment.
There could be specific applet developed for pressure transmitter in slurry conditions and another for pressure transmitter in pressure swing adsorption (PSA).
In short, a win-win situation for all.