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Win Worrall


Recent Posts

4 min read

Keeping Process Control Decision Makers in the Know

By Win Worrall on Jul 11, 2019 2:00:00 PM


If you've heard of the Cogent DataHub, you may be aware that it supports email and/or SMS notifications of defined conditional events based on a variety of data from it's various supported interfaces (MQTT, OPC UA, OPC DA, DDE, ODBC and more).  Having the right people receive alerts (such as when a tank has reached a critical level or a critical piece of machinery is offline) in a timely fashion can be the difference between simple downtime and a major liability.

This blog post will discuss how to use variable distribution lists in conjunction with the Cogent DataHub's Email/SMS capabilities to ensure the right decision makers will always receive important notifications as quickly as possible.

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2 min read

Video Tutorial: Redundant OPC Connectivity with Cogent DataHub

By Win Worrall on Feb 21, 2019 2:00:00 PM


For many industries, where having access to process data is critical, it's common to implement redundancy on many levels to ensure there is no disruption to data collection.  While there are different levels of redundancy, the one we see users most interested in is with OPC data source redundancy.

The following short video blog demonstrates step-by-step just how easy it is to configure the Cogent DataHub to handle redundant failover between OPC UA data sources, OPC DA data sources and more.

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1 min read

Video Tutorial: OPC to Azure IoT Hub with Cogent DataHub V9

By Win Worrall on Jan 31, 2019 2:00:00 PM


You've likely already heard about Cogent DataHub Version 9 and it's new MQTT integration capabilities.  The DataHub V9 MQTT Client goes beyond just generically connecting to MQTT Brokers by providing smart connectors for Azure IoT Hub, Google IoT and Amazon IoT Core MQTT Broker services.

The following short video blog demonstrates step-by-step how to easily configure the DataHub MQTT Client for publishing OPC UA and OPC DA data from DataHub to the Azure IoT Hub, as well as, pushing data from the many other data sources supported by Cogent DataHub (such as ODBC, DDE, Modbus and more).

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2 min read

Video Tutorial: Configuring DataHub V9 as an MQTT Broker

By Win Worrall on Jan 24, 2019 2:00:00 PM


As you are likely already aware, Cogent DataHub Version 9 expands the assortment of data sources you can integrate to include IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) with MQTT (Message Queuing Telemetry Transport) support.  As with its many other supported data sources (such as OPC), DataHub V9 can act as both a "client" and a "server" for MQTT - with a "server" being an MQTT broker.

The following short video blog demonstrates how truly easy it is to configure the DataHub MQTT Broker for acting as a "gateway" between MQTT Clients in your IIoT cloud and other supported interfaces including OPC, DDE, ODBC and many other data sources.

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1 min read

Video Tutorial: Publishing and Subscribing to MQTT Brokers with Cogent DataHub V9

By Win Worrall on Jan 17, 2019 2:00:00 PM


With the release of Cogent DataHub Version 9, we've expanded the multitude of data sources you can integrate to include IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) with MQTT (Message Queuing Telemetry Transport) support.

The following short video blog demonstrates step-by-step just how easy it is to configure the DataHub MQTT Client for publishing data from DataHub to any MQTT Broker, as well as, subscribing to data from any MQTT Broker for integration into your systems via DataHub's supported interfaces (such as OPC).

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5 min read

Cogent DataHub V9 Provides Secure Remote Configuration Built In

By Win Worrall on Jan 10, 2019 2:00:00 PM


While Cogent DataHub is, of course, primarily known for its extensive connectivity interfaces, just as important is how you, the user, are able to intuitively use and configure the functions in DataHub, both locally and remotely.

In this first blog post of a detailed series on specific DataHub Version 9 features, I'll provide insight into the new Remote Configuration capabilities and show you how Cogent DataHub V9 provides a secure, reliable and easy-to-use configuration experience locally and remotely.

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4 min read

Cogent DataHub V9 Adds IoT to OPC Connections, Remote Config, & More

By Win Worrall on Oct 31, 2018 2:00:00 PM


Cogent DataHub is known for its extensive connectivity to OPC DA, OPC UA, OPC A&E, Databases, Excel, ODBC, DDE, Linux, Modbus.  The new V9 takes our saying that "once the data is in DataHub, it can go anywhere" to a new level with IoT connectors and more as listed below.

In this blog post, I'll provide insight into these new features and show you how Cogent DataHub delivers secure, scalable, integrated connections within and between your plants, to the cloud and beyond.

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1 min read

Video Tutorial: Easy Integration of Your OPC DA/UA Data with MS Excel

By Win Worrall on Apr 5, 2018 2:00:00 PM

With DDE (Dynamic Data Exchange) fast becoming obsolete technology (Microsoft superseded DDE with OLE years ago), OPC DA and, more recently, OPC UA data sources have become the primary go-to for process data integration.  Recently, Microsoft even disabled certain DDE functionality in MS Office applications due to security concerns and malware exploitation targeting the DDE interface.

But the usefulness of MS Excel for data analysis across many industries even today is still undeniable and the primary mechanism for MS Excel to connect to a data source is via DDE.  So what do you do if you're still using MS Excel for process data analysis and reporting via DDE?  What's the alternative?

The following short video blog demonstrates step-by-step how to easily read/write data from process data sources (OPC DA and OPC UA Servers) using MS Excel (without DDE) with the Cogent DataHub.

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1 min read

Video Tutorial: Tracking the Health of Your Servers

By Win Worrall on Mar 8, 2018 2:00:00 PM

Knowledge is power and knowing the current state of your underlying server hardware for your process can be very powerful indeed.  Keeping a pulse on information like CPU usage, available memory, memory consumption by a process and whether or not critical process are still running can be the difference between hours of downtime with thousands of dollars in lost production and being able to proactively avoid any downtime.

The following short video blog demonstrates step-by-step how easy it is to use the Cogent DataHub to monitor vital system statistics on your servers that can be shared in real-time via supported client interfaces such as OPC DA and OPC UA or even send email/SMS notifications.

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1 min read

Video Tutorial: Sending Email & SMS Alerts Triggered by Process Values

By Win Worrall on Jan 25, 2018 2:00:00 PM

Timely notifications about abnormal conditions in your process are vital to minimizing downtime and the costs associated with it.  Automating the process based on the condition of specific process variables gets you the information you need for making decisions as quickly as possible.

The following short video blog demonstrates step-by-step how easy it is to use the Cogent DataHub to establish a connection to an OPC data source and then define various flexible conditions for triggering email and/or SMS text notifications based on values collected from that OPC server.

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11 min read

Can your OPC systems tell you when something is wrong?

By Win Worrall on Dec 4, 2017 4:23:13 PM

In this edition of OPC Talk with Win and Marc, we’re going to discuss when things go wrong and how do you know?  No matter what OPC software you’re using, there are many things that can happen that could cause system problems.  Most people would rather know about a problem before it ruins their day, week, month, or career, right?

Topics: OPC
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7 min read

Enabling System Health Tracking in OT Software Applications

By Win Worrall on Nov 30, 2017 2:00:00 PM


The heart of any control system is the computers and servers that run your automation software.  For example, when PLCs talk to AC drives over Ethernet, the drives will shut down if they lose communications for more than a second, sometimes even milliseconds.  Drives shutdown = Line shutdown = Plant shutdown.  What IT calls a blip for plant operations can mean downtime, scrapped product and even your company’s reputation due to missed delivery deadlines.

Traditionally, server maintenance and upkeep is the role of IT.  However, when these systems go down, it affects operations (OT) with different pains than IT sees on the business side.  IT has systems to monitor their own assets, on the standards they need for the business, but they need the OT side to expand monitoring of their own systems and self-reliance in order for OT to meet operational needs, while bringing in IT as a resource.

This blog post will discuss how to get information about health of servers and PCs that runs the automation software OT users need without having to rely solely on IT.

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Working in industrial automation since 1996, the Software Toolbox team has seen a lot. The level of automation system sophistication of our integrators and users has evolved, each driven by the demands of their market and clients.  Everyone's learning continues as technological change accelerates.

This blog is about sharing from these journeys.  From tips on implementing software, successes our clients have experienced, or new ideas and things to consider in your journey, we'll be sharing them here.

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