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Rocky Mountain Multimedia, Inc.
ACP Hardware Prompts HMI Vendors to Change Licensing (HIM - Human Machie Interface)
ALPHARETTA, Ga., Aug. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- "Many of the HMI companies are rethinking the way that they license their software". So says David Hancock, Vice President of ACP (Automation Control Products, Alpharetta, GA). "They are discovering that the Thin Client architecture allows anyone using our ThinTerm computers load and run multiple instances of their expensive HMI software throughout a factory with only one license." Mr. Hancock went on to stress that this practice, while technically feasible in most cases, would probably violate the spirit, if not the actual letter, of the software license.
The hardware that permits this is an industrial Thin Client computer, ThinTerm, made by ACP. When a ThinTerm Client is powered up, it logs into an NT server. In addition to giving the Client access to the server's resources, NT also creates a virtual display. This display is then transferred to the Client and is displayed on the monitor (or Touchscreen) attached to the Client. The Client also takes input from the user and sends it back to the server. This allows the user to control the NT session just as if it was running locally (on his Client) even though it is actually running on the server.
What this means to the operator is that, for all practical purposes, he now has a computer running NT. The ThinTerm Client looks like NT, behaves like NT, and it will run applications just like NT Terminal Server runs applications.
But, here is where ThinTerm Clients differ significantly from an Industrial PCs. Even though it appears to the end user that he is running his control screens locally, they are in fact running on the server. This means that all of the instances of the HMI or SCADA software are actually only running on a single machine. This is why the current licensing schemes let any ThinTerm connected to the server via standard Ethernet cable run a full version of the HMI software.
"Every HMI package that we have tested so far, even those that use a hardware key, will allow multiple instances to run with just one license", Mr. Hancock continued. "All of the major HMI vendors should be aware of this now, and hopefully, ACP will be able to start announcing very shortly their new licensing arrangements." Until then, it is simply up to the users to act responsibly.
SOURCE Automation Control Products
/CONTACT: J.P. Gardner of Automation Control Products, 800-846-4655/
/Web site: http://www.acpthinclient.com /
Thank you very much AnneMarie!.
...Any chance we can get you to write an opinion article for us?...editor
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