HMI Software User Experience Survey Results | Automation.com

HMI Software User Experience Survey Results

January 162016
HMI Software User Experience Survey Results

By Bill Lydon, Editor

This article was origianlly featured in the Summer 2015 Edition of PULSE, our digital magazine designed for your tablet or smartphone.

Automation.com conducted a HMI Software Experience Survey with the goal to gather vendor ratings based on user experiences. Our intention is to provide an ongoing reference for the automation community.  The survey also asked questions on specific industry topics, including automation challenges.  You are welcome to contribute to the automation community by participating in the survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/hmi_experience

Respondent Demographic

Respondents were characterized by job function and geography.   The majority of respondents were in-house automation engineers.

  • 39% - In-house person applying control & automation products used in within their employer’s company.
  • 28% - System integrator providing control & automation system integration services sold to other companies.         
  • 14% - Automation consultant hired to design automation for users but not a system integrator.         
  • 8% - Machine builder applying control & automation for machines sold to other companies. 
  • 6% - Distributor employee providing control and automation services to customers. 
  • 5% - Other

Experience

Seventy-eight percent of respondent’s have more than 8 years of experience.

  • 57% - more than 15 years
  • 21% - 8 to 15 years
  • 13% - 4 to 7 Years
  • 7%  - 1 to 3 years
  • 2%  - Less than 1 year            

Geography

The majority of respondents are from the United States.

  • 58%  United States
  • 10%  Europe
  • 8%    South America
  • 7%    Canada
  • 5%    India
  • 4%    Middle East
  • 1%    Australia
  • 1%    Mexico
  • 6%    Asia (including Japan, China, Korea, and India)

Vendor Ratings

Respondents were allowed to rate each vendor if they indicated that they have applied that vendor’s products.  Users were asked to rate vendors based on their experience in four categories – software reliability, software ease of use, customer service, and technology adoption.

(Note to brightly: Please recreate the following tables.  Please replicate all the company names from the first table for subsequent tables.  I tried to edit all of them the same, but I might have missed something.)

Software Reliability

Respondents rated there overall software reliability level of satisfaction with the following results. 

Software Reliability

Terrible

Poor

Average

Good -Excellent

Superior

Rockwell Automation

1%

7%

33%

52%

7%

Siemens

1%

6%

38%

47%

8%

Citect (Schneider Electric)

1%

8%

45%

40%

6%

Wonderware (Schneider Electric)

1%

4%

26%

55%

13%

ICONICS

5%

9%

40%

38%

8%

GE Proficy iFIX

1%

8%

40%

44%

8%

GE CIMPLICITY

2%

9%

43%

37%

9%

Inductive Automation

3%

5%

25%

43%

24%

InduSoft  (Schneider Electric)

2%

10%

40%

43%

5%

ABB

0%

10%

50%

30%

10%

Emerson Delta V

1%

4%

28%

49%

17%

Foxboro (Schneider Electric)

3%

2%

40%

40%

15%

Honeywell

2%

2%

34%

49%

12%

Yokogawa

1%

3%

38%

45%

13%

Rockwell PlantPAx

1%

8%

22%

60%

9%

National Instruments

2%

5%

45%

42%

6%

CoDeSys

7%

25%

54%

11%

4%

AutomationDirect

5%

11%

55%

25%

4%

PCVUE

7%

0%

53%

33%

7%

Vista

8%

17%

58%

17%

0%

Tatsoft

0%

10%

40%

30%

20%

Software Ease of Use

Respondents rated their satisfaction for software ease of use with the following results.

Software Ease of Use

Terrible

Poor

Average

Good -Excellent

Superior

Rockwell Automation

4%

13%

44%

35%

4%

Siemens

5%

18%

43%

30%

4%

Citect (Schneider Electric)

3%

13%

47%

33%

5%

Wonderware (Schneider Electric)

2%

8%

31%

43%

16%

ICONICS

4%

15%

41%

29%

11%

GE Proficy iFIX

4%

14%

44%

32%

7%

GE CIMPLICITY

3%

12%

52%

27%

5%

Inductive Automation

0%

3%

30%

37%

30%

InduSoft (Schneider Electric)

2%

10%

34%

40%

14%

ABB

20%

20%

20%

30%

10%

Emerson Delta V

1%

10%

33%

42%

14%

Foxboro (Schneider Electric)

5%

19%

38%

28%

9%

Honeywell

4%

9%

39%

37%

11%

Yokogawa

5%

13%

38%

36%

8%

Rockwell PlantPAx

2%

8%

36%

45%

9%

National Instruments

5%

15%

44%

24%

11%

CoDeSys

7%

24%

54%

11%

4%

AutomationDirect

5%

15%

48%

24%

7%

PCVUE

7%

0%

53%

20%

20%

Vista

8%

17%

50%

25%

0%

Tatsoft

0%

10%

50%

20%

20%

Customer Service

Respondents rated their customer service satisfaction with the following results.

Customer Service

Terrible

Poor

Average

Good -Excellent

Superior

Rockwell Automation

4.33%

10.82%

38.96%

36.36%

9.52%

Siemens

4.61%

18.09%

40.78%

27.30%

9.22%

Citect (Schneider Electric)

6.42%

11.23%

54.55%

22.46%

5.35%

Wonderware (Schneider Electric)

3.48%

8.99%

40.87%

37.97%

8.70%

Iconics

8.24%

15.29%

43.53%

24.71%

8.24%

GE Proficy iFIX

6.76%

14.86%

41.89%

32.88%

3.60%

GE CIMPLICITY

7.03%

14.06%

49.22%

27.34%

2.34%

Inductive Automation

3.33%

10.00%

20.00%

30.00%

36.67%

InduSoft

3.45%

8.62%

41.38%

34.48%

12.07%

ABB

20.00%

10.00%

30.00%

30.00%

10.00%

Emerson Delta V

2.74%

10.27%

36.99%

38.36%

11.64%

Foxboro (Schneider Electric)

6.32%

10.53%

36.84%

34.74%

11.58%

Honeywell

3.88%

5.43%

50.39%

32.56%

7.75%

Yokogawa

3.90%

16.88%

33.77%

36.36%

9.09%

Rockwell PlantPAx

3.45%

2.30%

39.08%

42.53%

12.64%

National Instruments

3.06%

10.20%

46.94%

29.59%

10.20%

CoDeSys

7.1%

17.9%

57.1%

14.3%

3.6%

AutomationDirect

8.2%

11.8%

51.8%

16.4%

11.8%

PCVUE

0.0%

0.0%

53.3%

33.3%

6.7%

Vista

8.3%

16.7%

50.0%

25.0%

0.0%

Tatsoft

0.0%

10.0%

50.0%

20.0%

20.0%

Technology Adoption

Respondents rated their perception of the supplier’s technology adoption with the following results.

Technology Adoption

Way Behind

Somewhat Behind

About Right

Bleeding Edge

Rockwell Automation

7%

26%

62%

5%

Siemens

6%

22%

64%

8%

Citect (Schneider Electric)

9%

33%

54%

4%

Wonderware (Schneider Electric)

4%

15%

66%

15%

Iconics

8%

23%

49%

20%

GE Proficy iFx

8%

33%

54%

5%

GE CIMPLICITY

9%

31%

59%

1%

Inductive Automation

6%

5%

37%

52%

Indusoft (Schneider Electric)

9%

20%

59%

12%

ABB

20%

10%

60%

10%

Emerson Delta V

5%

18%

62%

15%

Foxboro (Schneider Electric)

10%

31%

48%

11%

Honeywell

7%

22%

58%

13%

Yokogawa

8%

27%

55%

10%

Rockwell PlantPAx

6%

23%

62%

9%

National Instruments

12%

25%

52%

11%

CoDeSys

14%

47%

32%

7%

AutomationDirect

15%

29%

54%

2%

PCVUE

7%

33%

60%

0%

VISTA

8%

50%

42%

0%

Tatsoft

0%

20%

60%

20%

Hardware Vendor Preferences

Respondents were asked if they prefer to purchase HMI software from their automation hardware vendor.

  • 52% - Yes
  • 12% - No
  • 36% - Don't have a preference

Software Preferences

Respondents were asked if they prefer to purchase HMI software from their MES (Manufacturing Execution System) supplier.

  • 15% - Yes
  • 37% - No
  • 48% - Don't have a preference

Respondents were asked if they prefer to purchase a single integrated control, automation, and HMI development software to design and debug applications.

  • 63% - Yes
  • 15% - No
  • 22% - Don't have a preference

Respondents were asked if they currently use simulation software to debug and verify applications.

  • 53% - Yes
  • 37% - No
  • 10% - Plan to in the future

BYOD (BYOD, Bring Your Own Device)

We asked respondents if they believe industry professionals should be allowed to use their personal mobile devices (smartphones and tablet computers) to connect and work with automation systems.

  • 52% - Yes
  • 48% - No

Automation Challenges

Respondents were asked what their biggest automation challenges were in the last 12 months.  These are representative comments by topic.

Personnel

Finding qualified people and then efficiently training them is a large concern. 

Getting existing personnel to accept change is another issue frequently mentioned.

Making systems easier to work with was mentioned a number of times as a way to simplify training.

Updates & Version Control

Updates and version control is a major issue based on the comments from many respondents. Many respondents indicated difficulty keeping up with constant application software revisions.  Tracking changes to the control system was another major issue.

Transitioning to new Windows operating systems was mentioned many times as a big problem.  Many commented on what they believe are forced, “unnecessary upgrades” of perfectly functional systems due to new Windows version. These upgrades typically added no new value and created many problems.  The upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7 was cited repeatedly. Windows 7 was not capable of handling applications that ran under Windows XP and forced unnecessary upgrades of perfectly functional systems.

There is a frustration with the need to upgrade control hardware firmware when upgrading system software. In many cases this requires changing existing programs to keep existing functions.

Cyber Security

Cybersecurity and protecting automation system from cyber threats is major a concern, including HMI security access, backup issues, communication links, and maintaining ease of use with secure network access.

Many commented about the need to harmonize IT cyber security and industrial cyber security into automation environments and to integrate the automation systems (data) to corporate systems. All networks must comply with basic security rules.

It is desirable to keep remote access to control system simple and easy while maintaining network security.

Application Design Issues

Many commented that engineering tools are so complex that it is difficult to find and train people that can use them effectively.

Many are also concerned about companies needing to stay focused on basic automation functions and proper operation instead of focusing on the "fluff" which is contrary to good control system functional design.  Fluff includes screen animation and graphics color capabilities instead of robust alarm functionality.

Support Vendor

Lack of knowledgeable vendor support people was a recurring comment.  This seems to reflect the growing issues shared by users and vendors to find qualified people.

Multivendor Support

There is a frustration with the lack of interoperability between vendor products.  It is often difficult to integrate desperate products from multiple, different supposedly “best-in-class” products.

Proprietary systems are unable to talk to other manufacturer's software/hardware.  This comment illustrates the frustration that protocol wars are still alive and active. “OPC-UA Embedded on the controllers can't get here fast enough,” said one respondent.

Automation Community Voice

The goal of the ongoing Automation.com HMI Software Experience Survey is to provide a voice for the automation community to communicate and share their experiences to other users and vendors.

If you have suggestions for other industry experience survey topics, please send me an email ([email protected]).

You are welcome to contribute to the automation community by participating in Automation.com Automation Experience Surveys:

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