New Features

By: Trihedral  09-12-2011
Keywords: Security, Alarms, History

VTS / VTScada 10.1 expands upon the revolutionary features introduced in version 10.0 while reducing complexity for both developers and end users. Version 10.1 also introduces a sharp new tool to help you leverage next genera-tion mobile devices.


New Mobile Internet Client (MIC) for Smart Phones and Tablets

VTS has long had the easiest to configure Internet Client in the market. Version 10.1 introduces the simplest way to access your process from a smart phone or tablet. This successor to the VTS WAP Browser provides a tactile interface to your application that allows you to securely view and acknowledge alarms, check equipment status, plot trends and even issue control commands with just a touch or pinch.

  • Successor to the VTS WAP Server
  • Runs in the browser of smart phones and tablets
  • View and acknowledge alarms
  • Pinch to zoom in and out of trend graphs
  • Check equipment status and issue commands

A Hierarchical Approach to Organizing Tags

The redesigned VTS Tag Browser now displays parent tags and their children. Organizing tags into hierarchies, like files and folders on a hard disk, greatly simplifies tag naming and finding tags in large systems. Configuration time is reduced by implied connections between tags. For example, placing an I/O tag within a driver tag automati-cally connects that I/O to the driver without any further configuration. Whole subsystems can be cloned by simply copying a single tag that represents the root of the tree of tags. This hierarchy drives many of the new features found in 10.1 and greatly simplifies their configuration.

  • New tag browser provides hierarchical view of tags
  • Create ad-hoc child tags without writing code
  • Easily copy existing tag trees
  • Initial tag parameters can be calculated expressions
  • Tags copied to new parent automatically reference new scope

Enhanced Security Manager

Security is one of the modules that benefits from this tag architecture. Version 10.1 replaces an ever-growing list of privileges with ‘Roles’ and ‘Rules’. Rules are a combination of a tag and a privilege that allow you to more finely tune what users can do and where they can do it. This vastly reduces the number of privileges required. Quickly configure user accounts by assigning them to a Role which is a pre-defined set of Rules which corresponds to a specific job (e.g. plant operator). To reduce duplication and ensure consistency, accounts can now be shared across multiple applications. The security database scheme now employs military-grade encryption as does the security information exchanged between the VTS Internet Client and Server. Accounts can also now be disabled following repeated failed log-in attempts.

  • ‘Rules’ increase number of possible user privileges
  • ‘Roles’ reduce complexity when creating users
  • Allow access to specific modules and workstations
  • Disable accounts after failed log-in attempts
  • Share accounts across VTScada applications
  • Security database and Internet client support military-grade encryption suitable for top secret files

Lift Station Templates

Child tags now make it easier to configure engaging pre-made lift station displays for 3rd-party devices such as the MultiTrode™ MultiSmart™ RTU and the MPE Pump Controller. New tools allow developers to create and reuse their own templates. New pumping stations can be put on-line in less than a minute.

Improved Application Version Control

This optional feature, introduced in 10.0, allows authorized users to see all changes made on all servers, roll back to any previous version and merge versions together. Now, you can cherry-pick only specific changes when merg-ing versions. It is now even easier to burrow into each version and see a side-by-side view of all changes. A new indicator alerts you to local changes waiting to be distributed to all application servers.

  • Cherry-pick from multiple repository merges
  • File difference change indicators
  • VTS Diff Viewer shows number of changed files
  • File count on VTS Manifest Panel
  • Search properties in the Edit Properties dialog
  • See the number of tags that were imported

A New Voice for the VTS Alarm Dialer

Version 10.1 takes advantage of the latest developments in text-to-speech technology by supporting the ‘Amy’ speech engine from IVONA™.

  • IVONA™ speech engine integration vastly improves speech quality

Tag Enhancements

  • SNMP & DNP3 enhancements
  • Com alarms added to all drivers
  • Trigger tag expression for OFF condition
  • Logging of History Stats tags
  • Write capability for Input tags
  • New Context tag acts as generic parent tag

Documentation Enhancements

  • Help guides combined into single ‘Omni Guide’
  • Re-organized to help accomplish specific tasks

Operator GUI Enhancements

  • Intuitive new look for alarm pages
  • Outstanding local changes indicator
  • Time and user recorded on VTS Page Notes
  • Display Manager  access to previous 10 pages
  • Application name on logon dialog
  • HDV export remembers path & renames
  • VAM application entry uses app theme
  • Windows native buttons
  • Button to regenerate last report
  • Updating alarms uses new progress dialog
  • Mouse scroll wheel support

New Drawing Tools

  • Draw a grid of tags and their values on any page
  • Design tag drawing methods without writing code
  • Nested page frames and check-boxes
  • Tabbed folder drawing object
  • New VTS Historian and modem statistics panels
  • Multi-line text drawing method

Configuration Enhancements

  • Run-times can edit server lists and other properties
  • New calendar button for reports
  • Arrange  title bar icons according to realm settings
  • Questionable/manual flags off during configuration
  • Rename a page/DM when copying
  • Rotation support for bitmaps

Debugging Enhancements

  • Logging profiler
  • Million-long thread history with dead threads
  • Filter thread history by module, instance or thread
  • Reduced number of running threads
  • Show number of variables
  • Release build date on the About VTS dialog

Script Enhancements

  • Support for system file paths (42 in all)
  • File dialog access to FTP (not in Vista™)
  • API for Deploy and DirectDeploy
  • Module constructors/destructors
  • TRUE and FALSE functions
  • Instance variables
  • Speed improvement for network values
  • Dial-up networking support (PPP)

Fast Distributed Historian

  • Integrated historian now logs up to 4000 values/second.
  • Distribute multiple historians across multiple servers.
  • Optionally log to databases like MySQL, SQL Server and Oracle.
  • Synchronize historians across a WAN at up to 160,000 values/second; even between different database types.

Configuration Management

  • Reduce integration time by cloning existing applications.
  • Create applications and update existing ones online and offline.
  • Distribute new or updated applications to multiple computers with a single file.
  • Easily backup and restore configuration history.
  • Return to any previously known good version of the application.
  • Reload tags and many off-line script changes without application restart.
  • See audit log of all configuration changes for every computer in the system since installation.

Graphic Editing

  • Bold new interface design.
  • New photo-realistic graphics.

Security & Reliability

  • Supports SMTP servers with Transport Layer Security (e.g. Google’s Gmail™) for alarm notifications.
  • Military-grade tamper-proofing protects all configuration files and configuration history.
  • Prevent unauthorized IP addresses from connecting.
  • Perform orderly shutdown when system Universal Power Supply (UPS) runs low.

Alarm Management and Alarm Dialer

  • Configure alarms to rearm after they have been acknowledged.
  • Alarm dialer roster activations (manual and automatic) recorded as alarm history events.
  • Alarm dialer now includes alarm summary.

Performance & Ease-of-use Features

  • Operators can leave highly visible and editable sticky notes on pages.
  • Displays now update up to 7 times faster.
  • Create mouse-over tool tips.
  • Quickly access operator notes by day using calendar selection tool.
  • Supports triggered and scheduled writes to multiple outputs. (e.g. recipe)
  • Display statistical calculations on any page. (e.g. – Previous day, week, month average flow rates.)
  • Balance Internet Client load across servers.
  • Faster startup times and lower memory requirements for large applications.

Connectivity

  • VTScada now has its own IANA registered TCP/IP port.
  • Faster networking speed, especially on slow network links.
  • Display HTML files such as Google™ map pages using integrated HTTP server.
  • Alternate between redundant I/O communications drivers to confirm availability.
  • Support DataRadio ViPR™ and Phantom™ radios diagnostics.
  • Supports trigger-based polling of I/O devices.
  • SNMP compatible device support over UDP.
  • Store last written values: Rewrite manually or when communication is restored.
  • Run multiple concurrent ODBC queries to different databases.

Here are just some of the new features now available in version 9.1.

  • Fully tested for Windows 7™ - Take advantage of the faster speed and increased security that this operating system can offer.
  • Performance Increased 65% - Lower overhead for executing script code significantly increases the already impressive processing speed.
  • Faster Application Shutdown - Large applications that once took ten minutes to close can now, in many cases, take only ten seconds.
  • Faster Execution of Multiple Applications - Time to process VTS WEB Services and start 2nd VTS applications is dramatically improved.
  • More Memory for 32-bit Version - In addition to a 64-bit version, VTS 9.1 also supports up to 2 GB of additional memory for 32-bit versions.
  • Enhanced WAP Interface - Remotely update analog control values and set significant digits for analog displays.
  • Rate-of-change / Stale Value Indicator - Watch for rapid changes in value (e.g. leaks) or a lack of change over a period (e.g. stale tank water).
  • Multi-Write Object - Set the values for up to 50 outputs with a single operator action. Useful when starting HMIs or replacing PLCs.
  • Advanced Trigger Object - Trigger system events based on time or changes in values.
  • Alarm Dialer Rosters more than tripled - Now up to thirty users can be notified sequentially until the alarm is acknowledged.
  • Swap Rosters Using Triggers - Automatically change which sequence of users the alarm dialer contacts based on time of day or changes in values.
  • Output Number of Active or Unacknowledged Alarms - Displays number of active or unacknowledged alarms sorted by priority and area.  Can also activate horns in separate areas of the plant  when high priority alarms are present.
  • Separate Automatic Log-off Times for Each User - Customized settings maximize security with the least hindrance to the user.
  • Configure Read-only Workstations - Allow specific workstations to only provide access to system data without providing system control.
  • Enhanced Password Protection - Security manager can require passwords to exceed a minimum length, contain alphabetic, numeric or special characters, or expire after a pre-set period.
  • Display-only Analog Control - This Data Source parameter is not written to the I/O device, but only used to display the current value of the object (not the last written value).
  • Expanded Page Navigation - New button type provides more options for navigating system pages.
    Ungroup Grouped Objects - Custom user drawing methods can be separated into their component objects.
  • Additional Debugging Tool - MemTrace application allows users to create a memory trace to assist in the debugging process. This is now part of the standard VTS install.
  • Modem Discriminator for DNP3 Driver - Allows the DNP3 driver to handle remotely initiated dial-up phone calls.
    Flag for Active / Unacknowledged Alarms - Returns 1 to indicate one or more active alarms meeting pre-defined conditions.
  • Direct Interface to Child / Grandchild Objects - Developers can easily use the VTS Graphic Editor to edit parameters for an object’s children and grandchildren.
  • Enhanced Dictionary Objects - GetNextKey can step forward and backward through dictionaries based on sorted order or order-of-insertion. Dictionaries don't lose order-of-insertion information when copied.
  • VTS OPC Server (optional component)
    Any OPC compliant software can read real-time data from your VTS application
  • ODBC Interface to VTS Alarm Database
    Now you can extract your alarms, along with your historical data, for reporting, etc
  • Read Logged Data from Field Devices
    Data logs can now be extracted from Allen Bradley, CMI and some other RTUs
  • VTS Driver Multiplexer
    Provides seamless automatic failover to redundant connections to physical I/O (i.e. Ethernet, serial, dialup)
  • Enhanced Totalizer and Counter Objects
    Totalize flow data and count pump starts with just a few mouse clicks
  • Photorealistic Meters, New Switch Animations and Graphic Rotation
    Generate exciting user interfaces. Combine this with Object Grouping and the power of TIF and PNG graphic formats for more impressive displays.
  • Switch Tag
    Reduce integration time with multi-position switches and built-in feedback monitoring
  • Spoken Alarms
    Have your alarms announced over PC speakers
  • Advanced Color Adjustment
    Adjust the color, hue, saturation, and transparency of your graphic objects
  • Object Grouping
    Group objects from a combination of static and animated graphics, then save the group to a library and reuse it in future applications
  • Parameterized Pages
    Save development time with reusable displays that obtain attributes from a parameter file
  • Tag Synchronization Service (script function)
    Ensures startup synchronization across all servers for a set of registered tag variables
  • Bitmaps Arrays (script function)
    Create and manipulated arrays of bitmap images
  • Cross Reference Script Function
    Find where a particular script module or object is being used in any application
  • Variable Typing (script function)
    Explicitly define variables as a particular type

Keywords: Alarms, History, Multiple, Security,

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