The User Interface is Evolving from User Interface Application to Role centric and now Activity centric!!
As discussed two weeks ago this is NOW not the case, a “day in the life” of a role in the plant, (e.g. process engineer, maintenance engineer, operator) today is transient in state. Today the knowledge worker in order to execute the activity they are responsible are often required to move out from one state, say the control room, to a local operator station, then maybe mobile. Same can happen for other roles where they are still responsible for an activity or supporting the activity when they leave the plant, so may need mobile awareness, and interaction through the web.
This has shifted people to think that we should be designing the User Interface not based on App User Interface applications but based on role.
But in the last year there has been a shift beyond this to “Activity” based, this is significant move. Meaning that operational activities with their intelligence/ information and actions need to designed so that can execute on all User Interfaces (desktop and roaming devices). The change is that due to a workers location, and plant situation the worker may have to take on new activities which are typically outside of their defined role. Matching the growing demand for agility in operational roles.
But as discussed last week the requirement for natural training and certification becomes more critical, as a worker may take on an activity due to location, and they have not performed this activity for a while so the worker must be able access an online instruction, and sign off any required training before executing the activity. When I talk about this concept people say "this is not real, what about liability?" valid question. There are many activities that can performed in a timely manner that will reduce risk to safety , environment and therefore operational continuity. Yes it is key for the worker to be able to go through an online training and certification, the system will record all actions or audit.The worker may select a “best operational practice” and the system will guide the worker through the steps, with instructions to successfully execute the activity.
So I encourage to start thinking of Operational interfaces as an interface to execute Operational activities, and what would be the “day in life” of those who would typically responsible for it.
As we move forward with evolving the User Interfaces from Invensys, expect to see more and more collaboration services which start to deliver this activity based operational interaction. But today everything I have talked about here is possible with the current tools.Next week I will expand on a real situation of this evolution in an Upstream Scenario...
Traditional User Interfaces have been thought of as applications, e.g. InTouch, Suite Voyager, etc., we have seen people and vendors start moving to Role based, but today the Thought Leaders are going to Activity Based, What does this mean?
Traditionally we in product development / marketing no matter what company I have worked for, we have thought about functionality relative to User Interface products, e.g. InTouch, Information Server, Fox View etc., this was correct for the time as roles in a plant tended to be dedicated to one type of user interface and we satisfied this market by delivering a particular user interface product.