Automation needs to be easy to use

Automation advice: Devices and systems should provide a positive customer experience and be easily connect, monitor, commission, and operate. Use the smartphone benchmark.

By Craig Nelson February 18, 2019

The customer experience is a driving force behind any successful product development. In today’s environment of limited personnel resources and expanding operations, ease-of-use can often be the hardest part of product development to justify in the budgeting phase. However, it also can have the biggest return on the bottom line. Creating a unique product can present new challenges for development and requires a comprehensive set of requirement specifications and constant feedback from the field to hit the mark.

Smartphone benchmark

Whether developing a product or an application, using smartphones as a benchmark for high availability has become a safe bet. A mobile wireless module with a built-in webserver can help end-customers connect, monitor, commission, and restore operations to equipment. Eliminating the need for special software or version compatibility is another benefit for end-customers and is a key requirement in creating a better product experience.

A successful automation product does not have to create a sea-change to have a large impact; it can be as simple as connecting a device—such as a smartphone or tablet—to plant equipment in an easy and secure manner.

A final key point of advice to develop successful products for the industrial automation market is “keep it simple” and do not overlook an already accepted trend in the real world while pursuing a large impact in the industrial world.

Craig Nelson is product manager, Siemens Industry Inc., in the digital factory — motion control business. Edited by Mark T. Hoske, content manager, Control Engineering, CFE Media,

KEYWORDS: Industrial wireless, wireless module

Automation designs should be easy to use.

Smartphones are a good automation design benchmark.

Keep it simple and follow real-world trends in automation design.


How could wireless access help your automation designs?


Siemens provides more information about the products.

See related New Products for Engineers at

Craig Nelson
Author Bio: Craig Nelson is product manager, Siemens Industry Inc.