How important is a field communicator for IIoT applications?

If you can carry only one tool across the plant all the time, you know you’ll reach for the field communicator! But how do you use it in IIoT solutions?

If you work directly with instrumentation, you know the field communicator is an essential tool to configure devices, check diagnostics and troubleshoot problems. Of course, many plants have their field technicians and engineers doing those things on the local displays, but that takes longer.

Old-school field communicators can be a pain sometimes because they always need database updates. You’ll run into this problem with some of the new generation too.

Today, let's talk about how field communicators have evolved from a tool meant for one task to an industrial tablet that gives you a wide range of possibilities for daily use in the field.

From classic field communicator to multi-tasking industrial tablet

We call field communicators all kinds of things, even when we’re being polite. Some people know them as HART communicators, others as FF communicators or handhelds.

These tools were first created to set up HART devices, which is why they’re often known as HART communicators. Later, their use expanded to Foundation Fieldbus devices, and “FF communicator” came into vogue.

Today, field communicators can handle many protocols and networks. Better yet, our clunky, limited handhelds have become tidy tablets that offer more than setups, diagnostics and troubleshooting.

Okay, enough from my side. I invited my colleague Jovana to tell you more about it. This video has everything you need to know about industrial tablets with IIoT solutions like Netilion Ecosystem.

Jovana's video gives us an excellent overview regarding field communicators and how industrial tablets such as the Field Xpert SMT70 are revolutionizing our work. Now let’s review how an industrial tablet is better for daily tasks than a standard field communicator.

Example of an industrial tablet’s efficiency

When you have to check a malfunctioning device, it helps to record the conditions you found device in. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, a camera is a great way to do that. By adding pictures to the final report, you have complete and impartial observations on file.

With an industrial tablet and IIoT service, such as the Field Xpert SMT70 and Netilion Library, you can easily save a lot of time. First, you can access the device's setup and check all the information with the same tool.

Then with the built-in camera, you can use the tablet to instantly record the conditions you found the field device in. Last, using Netilion Library, you can save these pictures to the device folder, creating a history of the device for the entire team to access.

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You can also create reports using the same industrial tablet, instead of lugging along your laptop or going back to your computer. In short, you have a tool for everything. That flexibility saves a lot of time in your daily life and makes you much more efficient.

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