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Lt. Commander

[import] Voice alarm annunciation and voice telephony support

>>Message imported from previous forum - Category:ClearSCADA Software<<
User: Roughneck42, originally posted: 2019-01-23 19:50:24 Id:353
A client put the following in a spec. for a new SCADA system..
"The HMI shall be capable of generating all specified alarms and notify operators via voice, SMS or email. All alarms shall be logged for viewing and reporting purposes. All alarms shall be locally enunciated via HMI software and speakers."

Wondering how best to handle the voice notification and local enunciation requirements...


Reply User: adamwoodland, posted: 2019-01-23 22:01:03
I know some customers have used SCADAPhone to read out alarms to uses via the phone, that might have something for doing the same via speakers but I don't know.


Reply User: JesseChamberlain, posted: 2019-01-24 01:00:00
I would be asking for clarification on whether they actually want the whole alarm read out or the bell is enough locally....

Otherwise a system call to some command line text to speech program?


Reply User: sbeadle, posted: 2019-01-24 08:20:22
It would be an easy setup to link the ClearSCADA alarm redirection to twilio.com for SMS and Voice alarms. The simplest way is to send emails from ClearSCADA. The next step would be to use a system command alarm redirection which starts up a program to send the message through twilio's web service - and maybe write the results back to ClearSCADA's database.


Reply User: BevanWeiss, posted: 2019-01-24 11:46:17
As the others have noted, ClearSCADA doesn't support Voice based alarm redirections internally, although it does have good enough support for SMS and Email based.
We've used twilio before along with a very basic command line executable to perform Twilio interaction which allows for text-to-speech to be used in calling a phone number.
More complex interactions, such as IVR (Interaction Voice Response) can be built up using Twilio, but the complexity increases quite dramatically beyond the simple make a phone call and speak some words (which is absolutely trivial).

My concern with Twilio has always been the reliability of it.
a) it requires that you have a working internet connection from the ClearSCADA server to the Twilio server
b) it requires that the Twilio service is available to serve your request
c) it requires that your administration hasn't failed to pay the Twilio fees
d) it requires all of the Telecom provider services to allow the phone call to be contacted to the operator phone number.

This has always seemed a bit 'unreliable' to me, especially given that so much of this isn't under direct OT control. But trying to find voice capable modems to do most of it inhouse is almost impossible these days, and packages like SCADA Phone have their own issues


Reply User: sbeadle, posted: 2019-01-24 12:06:51
All good points. The weakest point is the data uplink, which these days is comparable to relying on phone calls, 3G or SMS to send alarms, so in my view it's a reasonable solution rather than adding on external software.


Reply User: geoffpatton, posted: 2019-01-24 18:38:02
Win 911 does voice calling.
I don't really like it though.
It requires a specific type of Modem.
I had to jump through hoops to get it working with redundant pair of servers because only one server is main. Then you have to setup all the alarms in it.
If it is restarted it will call out all the active alarms again.
I had one customer using this and I only came in after their original integrator disappeared and then I just had to make sure things worked as they upgrade versions and computers.


Reply User: BevanWeiss, posted: 2019-01-24 19:45:09
I would preference SCADA Phone over Win911... but I would preference almost anything else above SCADA Phone.

It would be nice if there was a way for people to write proper Alarm Redirection drivers (which the Simple DDK doesn't really provide for), as then things like SIP / Skype / WhatsApp / Viber / Smoke signal integration could be added...
Cludging around it with method call redirections which trigger System commands which execute custom executables or batch files really isn't a great way, and tends to be a one way street, or requires magic trust in configurations for two way.


Reply User: adamwoodland, posted: 2019-01-24 22:28:16
I've been contemplating writing an interface from ClearSCADA to Microsoft Flow, which would be pretty cool. But that is as far as it has got so far


Reply User: Roughneck42, posted: 2019-01-24 22:52:04
thanks for the pointers, but there needs to be a native solution, the water companies seem to demand voice support. other scada systems provide this and support hardware like the Multitech MT9234MU-CDC-XR


Reply User: BevanWeiss, posted: 2019-01-27 00:48:12
[at]Roughneck42 when you say 'other scada systems provide this', which SCADA systems are you referring to exactly?
FactoryTalk ViewSE, CitectSCADA, WinCC SCADA, iFix SCADA, InTouch etc etc etc do not support voice call alarm escalation natively. The majority of them don't even support proper alarm escalation.


Reply User: BevanWeiss, posted: 2019-01-27 01:04:25
[at]adamwoodland I was all excited by your mention of Microsoft Flow, but looking more into it, it's got some pretty harsh limitations. The On-premises Data Gateway doesn't support custom data sources (only SQL Server, SharePoint, Oracle, Informix, Filesystem, DB2). Which limits what would be able to be done with a ClearSCADA connector.

That would mean that it would be possible to query the alarms (via SQL server linked ClearSCADA) however acknowledging the alarms based upon a flow action wouldn't be possible (without horrible hacks, like putting a file into a directory which means acknowledge).

Certainly willing to help out where practicable if I'm wrong on this however..


Reply User: Roughneck42, posted: 2019-01-28 23:24:39
VTSCADA (https://www.trihedral.com/scada-alarm-notification) and Ignition (https://docs.inductiveautomation.com/display/DOC/Voice+Notification+Module) come to mind as supporting this functionality. win911 is not an option as the need to support two databases is a no go.


Reply User: Roughneck42, posted: 2019-01-30 16:13:16
[at]sbeadle said:
It would be an easy setup to link the ClearSCADA alarm redirection to twilio.com for SMS and Voice alarms. The simplest way is to send emails from ClearSCADA. The next step would be to use a system command alarm redirection which starts up a program to send the message through twilio's web service - and maybe write the results back to ClearSCADA's database.

so I would be grateful of any technical documents detailing how this can be achieved....


Reply User: sbeadle, posted: 2019-02-01 17:19:30
Using a system command to redirect alarms to a .exe with parameters requires you to create an alarm redirection 'System Command Action'. This has a 'Command' field, which needs to be something like:
c:\\myfolder\\mycommand.exe "%OAlarmDesc%" "%ACondName%" "%ASeverity%" "%ACondActiveDateTime%" "%ASubCondActiveDateTime%" "%ASubCondName%" "%OFullName%"

To send all alarm state changes, edit the root group properties on your system and add a single redirection on the 'Redirection' tab: fields on the line are:
Auto, Always, your-action, Low, Critical, Region=empty, Delay=0, Never, 0

You can alter what fields are sent to the system - the above list may also need "%OStateAreaOfInterest%" if you are using AoI and want the user to know it.
Then use the twilio API to write a program which connects to twilio and sends the data to whoever needs to know (which can be decided by your program - perhaps by querying the ClearSCADA database too).

Use the twilio messaging API (https://www.twilio.com/docs/sms) or similar.

A down-side to this design is that the command execution starts and ends each time an alarm update is done. A more efficient way would be to put this code in a DDK driver as a Method on a single 'channel' object. Then use a Method redirection instead of a System Command redirection, with the same parameters. The Method is passed to the driver process which handles the notification asynchronously. The driver process can also use the Twilio API to read incoming messages such as for alarm ack or delivery notifications.