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SCADA is not a specific technology, but a general framework of equipment capabilities and communication protocols that work together to provide Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition. The data that is collected and the controls that are implemented are the backbones of an automated monitoring system. Computers or equipment with embedded processors is designed to exchange data using defined and often standardized commands and responses. Correctly installed and operating, these elements form a SCADA system or what some people think of as a SCADA application.
A SCADA application will generally have:
1. Processes/systems/machinery you want to monitor and control - this can be a power plant, a water system, a network, or a system of traffic lights. The opportunities for monitoring or control are virtually endless.
2. If the SCADA reporting is not integrated into these elements, a network of intelligent devices provides an interface to the SCADA system. The interface can be physical using digital and/or analog inputs and/or outputs. It is rare for a physical interface device to be output only but can sometimes be paired with a suitable input device to avoid blind control. The interface can also involve machine-to-machine communication over a wide variety of electronic channels.
3. A SCADA Master also known as a Manager or Monitoring System collects the information from elements or interface devices. SCADA Masters like the DPS T/MonLNX then process, organize and display the information so system operators can determine the status of the monitored systems and make necessary response and control decisions. Masters can also provide some level of automated control in response to specific input conditions.
You can build a SCADA system using several different kinds of technologies and protocols. This white paper will help you evaluate your options and decide what kind of SCADA system is best for your needs.