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Remote UniStream and VisiLogic development


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Back in 2010 (or was it 2011?) I was really wanting to have a simulation mode on Vision PLCs. Because it would help to test an application without having the PLC. Since that wasn't possible, I proposed an idea that Unitronics rents time slots to actual PLCs connected via Internet. That way programmers would be able to test their code on actual hardware.

I know, I know, PLCs are supposed to be serious business, and it's often mentioned that you can buy: 1 x V120, 1 x V430, 1 x V700, and 1 x V1080 for the price of a Siemens software license and a set of genuine programming cables.

Here's my rebuttal: a local company, due to Covid-19, has implemented a testing-as-a-service with their hardware dev kits. They call it Planet Debug. Every dev board is connected to Internet (through a firewall) and has a camera pointing to it. You choose your hardware, how big a time slot you need, and you get to test your code on real hardware.

Now imagine a wall covered with Unitronics PLCs, each with a dedicated VPN tunnel to an end user, billed by hour. Let's begin at $10/hour. Unitronics staff could charge a "configuration fee" for connecting I/O modules to the PLC, or some specific elements such as stepper motors, weighing scales, heaters, temperature probes, etc. User would be able to download HMI and ladder code, and check out how it actually looks and operates. A web camera would be recording the PLC screen and I/O module LEDs, so design could be fully verified.

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