Frequently Asked Questions
Looking for more information? Contact us and share your remote monitoring and data storage needs so we can start building the right solution for you and your team. You can also schedule a demo for a full walkthrough of our solutions and to see how others are using Data-Command.
Below are some of the questions we hear frequently from customers considering Data-Command:
What is a SCADA system?
SCADA is an Acronym for Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition. Many extend the SCADA to the plant automation equipment such as PLCs or process controllers. Other extend it all the way to the primary elements like instrumentation and pump control packages. By this definition, it is the visualization, data storage and human interface to the automation platform. The automation is done at the automation level and the Decision making to modify the process is done by the operator.
Can I replace my on-premise SCADA system with Data-Command’s solution?
In some cases, we can provide you with all the features and functions that an on-premise SCADA system provides, at a lower price. For larger systems we typically recommend our Data-Bridge software or Zeus product, which interface with and enhances your existing on-premise SCADA package offering a level of cloud based redundancy.
Are you an on-premise SCADA package?
No. We are a hosted solution and work with your on-premise SCADA package or independent of it for redundancy. Although we utilize hardware and software devices to deliver the information to the cloud where the intelligence, configuration and information is hosted. This gives you all the advantages that a hosted service provides. Things like monitoring from portable devices, centralized security and alerting, updated feature set additions and enhancements, rolled out with no end user intervention. All these things add up to saving time and money as well as give additional reliability and redundancy to your existing system.
Can you get information directly from my PLC?
Yes. Data-Command’s products allows us to securely retrieve information from most PLCs, SCADA Systems and instrumentation brands. If yours has a serial RS-232 or RS-485, Ethernet connection, or if it can communicate via Allen-Bradley or Modbus protocols, we can get information from it.
Do I have to pay for upgrades when I change my computer that I use to access Data-Command?
No. As a hosted solution, we are continually updating our systems to stay current with the latest browsers. This eliminates the need for expensive upgrades to your computers or other hardware.
Can you replace my existing leased phone lines?
Yes. From working with our customers, we know leased lines can be unreliable, expensive and difficult to operate and maintain. With our cellular solution, we can easily replace these lines at a fraction of the cost. See our case studies Leased Line Replacement | Radio Replacement
Can you replace my failing radio system or troubled site?
Yes. If your existing radio system is failing, out of date, you need to add a station or just have a site that does not work well, then we may be the solution for you. If it is a new station and requires a tower then we are definitely a solution to consider. The cost of one tower can usually buy at least 10 years of cellular service.
Additionally, radio systems, particularly older ones, can be very insecure, broadcasting over well publish open frequencies with no encryption. Using Verizon Private network solutions eliminates most security risks.
Can I access information on my smartphone or tablet?
Yes. Data-Command allows you to access your information from any internet connection using your computer, smartphone or tablet with a responsive display for that device enhancing your user experience.
Is Data-Command secure?
We require strong passwords and Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). We are also fully encrypted with an SSL certificate (https). Our devices, which report to Data-Command, connect through secure sockets that sit on your network tunnel out; therefore, no changes to your external firewall ports are required. Since we gather information then transmit it to our data center, any of our devices that connect to your control network act as an additional firewall. This means your control network does not directly communicate to the internet, making it a more secure option.
Do we have to change our firewall settings for Data-Command to work?
Not usually. If you are utilizing the Data-Bridge software or Zeus, which allow you to directly interface with your existing on-premise SCADA software or PLC hardware, there is no need to open any external firewall ports. We securely deliver information to the cloud, we do not connect our cloud solution directly to your automation platform like vpn and many other solutions.
Can I set up different alerts for different people?
Yes. Our centralized notification feature allows you to set up groups and a notification calendar to determine who receives certain alerts and when they get them. This allows for escalation of alerts through an order of personnel. With centralized management, it is easy to change who gets an alert and even easily stop them when they are on vacation and start them back up when they get back.
Can I acknowledge an alert from my smartphone?
Yes. An alert can be acknowledged from your smartphone by responding to the alert text or voice call, tablet or computer. Data-Command will record when the alert was sent, and which users acknowledged it.
We don’t have cell phones, how can I get an alert?
We provide voice calling notifications like an alarm dialer but with centralized management. It is easy to change who gets an alert and even easily stop them when they are on vacation and start them back up when they get back.
How often does my information update?
It varies depending on your needs. We have plans available that range from one-minute updates to one-hour updates. We can find the right plan for you based on your operations and budget. Regardless, if any information is flagged as an alert, you will receive a notification via text, email or voicemail.
Can we control our equipment through your system?
If you want you determine who can monitor and/or control each piece of equipment by setting different permission and access levels for each team member.
What if I don't have a PLC?
The Data-Command lynx unit allows you to directly connect to your equipment like instrumentation, pump controls, analytical equipment and most standard industrial devices. All it needs is a dry contact and/or 4-20 ma signal and you are online.
How far back can I see my information?
Data-Command begins collecting your historical data and alert information as soon as your assets are configured. Through our trending and reporting features, you can see all recent and past information and filter by date.