06 July 20

Sm@rtClient application – instructions for installation and configuration on Android phones

What is the Sm@rtClient application?

SIMATIC HMI1 is a visualisation system dedicated to SIEMENS controllers. They include operator panels, mobile panels, IPC and WinCC Runtime software.

Sm@rtClient2 is an application that enables remote monitoring and control of SIMATIC HMI visualisation systems. The application is available for Microsoft WINDOWS, iOS and ANDROID operating systems. Communication, in turn, takes place via ETHERNET – offering the possibility of connection encryption.

What are the benefits of using sm@artclient?

The main advantage of this type of application is the fact that remote monitoring allows to work from almost anywhere in the world. Thanks to it, operators can save a lot of time and money, which otherwise they would have to spend on traveling to the places where the monitored objects are located.

Using the Sm@rtClient application, the selected operator can easily access SIMATIC HMI visualization systems. This is done using any computer or phone – and without having to install TIA Portal or WinCC Runtime software.

What is worth paying special attention to is the versatility of the Sm@rtClient solution. The application shows not only the visualization, but also the full look of the operator panel – including the function buttons. In this way, the operator can work as if he were directly in front of the panel.

What requirements must be met to use the sm@rtclient application?

Sm@rtClient is a client application. This means that to work properly it needs a connection to a data server. In its case, such a server is the Sm@rtServer service – available in SIMATIC HMI Basic and Comfort series operator panels and WinCC Runtime Advanced software.

The Sm@rtServer service is a visualization function, the use of which requires an additional license. Since the V14 version of TIA Portal / WinCC Runtime software is free. To stream the visualization you need to configure the Sm@rtServer service, the connection between the server and the client and the Sm@rtClient application.

Step-by-step visualisation configuration

Sm@rtServer is a visualization function that acts as a system service. This means that it is a process that works in the background and does not require interaction with the user.

This is an optional feature that remains disabled by default. To activate it, you must do so “manually”. – when configuring the visualization in the TIA Portal environment (i.e. in the Services tab available in the Runtime settings window) by selecting the appropriate option (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Switching on Sm@rtServer service

In addition, for Sm@rtClient to work properly, you need to enable the data exchange service via SOAP (Simple Object Protocol). This is a communication protocol that uses Extensible Markup Language (XML) to encode calls and usually Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) to carry them.

In the default settings this service is also disabled and without it the Sm@rtClient application is not able to access the variables processed by the visualization system.

This service is also activated in the Services tab (Figure 2).

Figure 2: SOAP service enabled

Panel Setup Instructions

Sm@rtServer as a service is also configurable. Its settings can be found in the control panel of the operator panel. After uploading the project with Sm@rtServer option enabled, in WinCC Runtime Advanced Internet window an additional tab Remote will appear (Figure 3).

Figure 3: options related to the Sm@rtServer service

In this tab, in addition to the settings themselves, there are also options that allow the Sm@rtServer service to be manually enabled (Start button) or disabled (Stop button).

In addition, the automatic start of the service can be enabled together with the operator panel (option Start automatically after booting) or automatically stopped – when the visualization is closed (option Close with Runtime).

After pressing the Change settings button, another window with detailed settings of the Sm@rtServer service will open (Figure 4).

Figure 4: Sm@rtServer service settings

In this window, you can configure settings like this:

  • Encrypt connection (Encrypt communication option).
  • Locks the screen during the active session (option No local input during client sessions).
  • The numbers of the communication ports used (Display or port numbers to use section). 
  • Save the service after the call is closed (section When last client disconnects).

However, the most important element of this window are Password 1 and Password 2 fields, where you set the passwords and permission level for the controlled visualization.

In the Sm@rtClient application (depending on the password used), the logged-in user has the right to full control (View only option unchecked) or view only (View only option checked) of the streamed visualization.

Unit Configuration Manual

Communication between the Sm@rtClient application and the Sm@rtServer service takes place via the ETHERNET network. In Local Area Networks (LAN), the operator panel with the Sm@rtServer service and the host with the Sm@rtClient application must be configured to operate within a single subnet, i.e. their IP addresses must belong to the same address group (Figure 5and Figure 6).

Figure 5: Example of static configuration for operator panel network interface
Figure 6: Example of static configuration for the network interface in Microsoft WINDOWS

Mobile phones do not have LAN interfaces. Therefore, in order to provide them with access to the local network, an additional access point should be integrated in such a network. It will connect the local network with wireless devices using Wi-Fi standards- creating a WLAN (Wireless LAN). 

When configuring the access point, you should be aware of security issues. I.e. use WEP/WPA/WPA/WPA2 data encryption mechanisms and hide network SSIDs. If the access point is a router operating in a different subnet – you have to change the wireless connection configuration in your mobile phone settings. So that the phone’s IP address belongs to the same address group as the HMI (Figure 7).

When the operator panel with Sm@rtServer service and the host with Sm@rtClient application are located in different WANs (Wide Area Network), then it is necessary to create a connection between these networks so that the client application can establish communication with the data server. For this purpose 2 types of connections can be used. Directly via INTERNET or Virtual Private Network (VPN) tunneling, where the communication between the client and the server is invisible to the public network and can be encrypted.

Application Installation Manual

Sm@rtClient application for ANDROID system is available in two versions: Full and Lite. Full version is paid for and fully functional. However, the Lite version is free and has limited possibilities. Both can be downloaded through the Google Play store (Figure 8).

Figure 8: Sm@rtClient application in Lite version in Google Play store

In the Lite version the connection time is limited and longer sessions are automatically closed. The automatic resume function is not available. Furthermore, in the Lite version, the function keys are not supported.

Step by step application configuration

In the main Sm@rtClient application window there is a list of configured connections, which after installation is empty. To manage the connections use the tools gathered in the top bar (from the left): Auto-Detect Connection, Add Connection and Edit Connection (Figure 9).

Figure 9: Sm@rtClient application window with connection list

Auto-Detect Connection tool (available only in Full version), automatically connects the application to the Sm@rtServer service broadcasting in the local network (if possible). In turn, Add Connection is used to manually add a connection. With the Edit Connection tool it is possible to edit existing connections. After pressing the Add Connection button, another window with details of the new connection will appear (Figure 10).

Figure 10: Connection configuration in Sm@rtClient application

To create a new connection, you need to provide its: short name, IP address of the device with Sm@rtServer service enabled, port number used and access password.

Depending on the password given, you can access with full control or control limited to viewing the streamed visualization only. The connection configured in this way must be saved using the Save button (floppy disk symbol in the upper bar). Next, it will appear in the list of connections in the main Sm@rtClient application window (Figure 11).

Figure 11: Sm@rtClient application window with configured connection

To start streaming the visualization, simply select the newly created connection (click on its short name or icon).

If all elements (Sm@rtServer service, connection between the server and the client, Sm@rtClient application), have been configured correctly – after the connection has been established, the streamed visualization view with a user-controlled cursor will appear in the application window.

Installation and configuration of sm@rtclient application – Summary

Human-machine interaction in complex control systems is essential. Through visualisation systems, operators can monitor and control production processes.

With the Sm@rtClient application, you can transfer the SIMATIC HMI visualization system to your computer or phone, which works like a real HMI. It is a convenient and practical solution, and additionally, it saves a lot of time and money.

Stesar uses this solution in the implementation of every control system project and recommends it to its customers.