Transition Guide for Current Users

On December 15th, 2020 between 1-2pm EST a major update will release affecting all users and accounts currently subscribed to Banner Cloud Data Services, the Cloud data platform provided by Banner Engineering Corporation.  This update is a new framework for managing alerts and notifications within the software and is in response to the evolution of Industry 4.0 practices and feedback from our customers as they adapt to operational trends that better serve the demands of their market.

Important Note: Users must subscribe their Contacts to an Asset Group to receive alarm notifications with the new framework (Alarm -> Asset -> Group <- Contact).

For those users that want to explore immediately, below is a quick look at the new prompts for the management of alerts and notifications. More information about the transition and how it will affect your account is provided with the Overview.

Alarm Section Prompt

This prompt allows you to create your Alarms. You can create and link these alarms to your Asset using the dropdown list of available assets or you can click (new) to create an Asset.

Asset Section Prompt

This prompt allows you to create your Assets and associate the respective Alarms. The Assets can be added to an available Group or this can also be done in the Groups section.

Group Section Prompt

This prompt allows you to create Asset Groups and manage the Assets and Contacts that are associated with them. This section establishes the connection between Contacts and Alert Notifications.  A notification for an Alarm will not be generated unless a Contact is associated with the Asset Group.

Contact Section Prompt

This prompt allows you to create a Contact and subscribe to an Asset Group. This is another opportunity to associate Contacts with Asset Groups to allow the Alarm notifications to occur.

Overview of the Alert Framework

The following information will describe a brief overview of the new framework and provide instructions for current users as they explore and organize the changes created by the transition to their accounts.

Current State

Prior to the release of the new alert management framework, users are often overloaded with a multitude of notifications generated by each individual alarm. This is due to the one-to-one relationship of notifications and alarms. The figure below describes the workflow of how an alarm is attributed to a register and then a Contact for Notification is subscribed. Each user must subscribe to the individual alarm by entering in their contact information while creating or editing the alarm.

Alert Management (Current State)

This framework suffices for simplistic applications in which a user wants to easily monitor a few signals that are critical to their operation. However, this structure becomes limited as a user wants to monitor a fleet of assets with multiple signals per asset throughout an entire organization. Our users have been forced to provide context in the naming of each alert to manage their notifications properly.

Future State

The new alert framework will allow our users to create the necessary context for an alarm and provide a means of managing the alerts according to an asset.  As shown in the figure below, alarms are created in the same manner as before with the added step of assigning the alarm to an asset. An asset can have as many alarms attributed to it as necessary to create the overall status of the machine.  Once an alert is triggered, the notification will include the status of each alarm assigned to that asset.  If multiple alarms are triggered in the span between pushes of the gateway controller to the Cloud software, the next notification will indicate the concurrent alarms that were triggered. This reduces the amount of notifications and provides the overall health status of the asset.

Alarm Creation (Future State)

Furthermore, assets can be collected into Asset Groups for increased management of an operation. In most enterprises there are a host of machines working together to complete a process. The grouping of assets allows that process to be mirrored in the software and responsibility given to those individuals for managing the operation. Users must enter their contact information and work schedule, then subscribe to the asset groups they manage to receive an alarm notification. The figure below indicates the workflow for the new framework.

Alert Management (Future State)

Recommendations for Current Users

Upon release date, current users will notice a dramatic change within the environment on the Alarm Navigation tab of the software. Four new navigation buttons will be available to organize alarms as described in the previous section (see image below). Originally created alarms will be indicated within the Alarm environment. Users will notice the addition of the Asset, Group, and Contact environments.

To prevent our current users from having to recreate their alarms and associate them with Assets, Groups, and Contacts, we used transition scripts to organize and allocate to defaults based upon the information already available. Therefore, the defaults created may not reflect the desired organization needed by our users.  We recommend the following actions,

Asset Modification

Our transition script will create default Asset Names according to the naming convention of the original alarm. For example, in the image below a list of alarms is shown…

Original List of Alarms

…where a series of alarms are labelled ‘N1 Humidity’, ‘N1 Temp’, ‘N1_XHiA’, ‘N1_XV’, etc. The transition script will determine the signals that matched up with the same gateway and naming convention (greatest common substring) to create an asset.

In the image below, it is shown how the transition scripts have created default asset names for ‘N1’ and ‘N1 Humidity’ with the original alarms associated accordingly to that asset.

Asset List after Transition

We recommend that current users review the default assets created by the transition and modify the associations as necessary. This can be done by clicking on the Edit button next to the asset within the Asset environment. A prompt will appear allowing the user to rename and add or remove alarms.

Update Group Names

Our transition script will create default Group Names according to how the original alerts were allocated to companies or gateways. For example, in the image below a list of asset groups is shown with the list of assets within each group. Comparing this list to the ‘Original List of Alarms’ and the ‘Asset List after Transition’ in the previous section will illustrate how the assets were allocated to their respective groups.

Group List after Transition

If the alarms were allocated per company, then a group will be created with the company name as the Group Name.

It is important to understand that the Group environment is where Contact association for alarming is created. A Contact must be added to an Asset Group for an alert notification to occur through email or SMS messaging. We recommend that current users review the default groups created by the transition and modify the naming and associations as necessary. This can be done by clicking on the Edit button next to the group within the Group environment.

A prompt will appear allowing the user to rename and add or remove assets accordingly. Ensure that a Contact has been added for alarm notifications of the assets within that group.

Update Contact Information

Our transition script will create default Contact Names using everything prior to the ‘@’ symbol in an email address or email-to-text address that had previously been entered. An example is shown in the image below along with the Groups that Contact is currently subscribed to.

We recommend that current users review the default contacts created by the transition and modify the naming and associations as necessary. This can be done by clicking on the Edit button next to the contact within the Contact environment.

A prompt will appear allowing the user to rename the contact and add or remove the groups accordingly.

Additionally, scheduling is now available for users in Banner Cloud Data Services.  This feature can be operated by clicking the checkbox next to ‘Schedule’ when creating or editing the Contact information within the prompt. Simply select the working hours that individual is responsible for receiving alarm notifications.  The contact will now only receive alarms during those time periods.  If the Schedule is not selected, then the contact will receive notifications any time an alert is triggered.

It is important to note that the time zone for each contact is determined by the time zone specified within the Company settings. The default for each Company is UTC (00:00).

Notification Format

The new alert management framework allows the software to provide more information with each notification.  Below is an example of an email and text (SMS) notification.

Format (Email):

Subject: [Asset Alarm Condition]: [Asset Name]: [Gateway Name]: [Company Name]

[Group Name]

Update: [Alarm Condition]: [Alarm Name_3]: (Alarm Value) <Argument> (Alarm Name_3 Threshold)
Alarm Clear: [Alarm Name_1]: (Value) <Argument> (Alarm Name_1 Threshold)
Alarm Clear: [Alarm Name_2]: (Value) <Argument> (Alarm Name_2 Threshold)
Alarm Clear: [Alarm Name_n]: (Value) <Argument> (Alarm Name_n Threshold)
Event at Nov 12 2020 5:09PM UTC-6


Subject: Critical: HVAC Vibe: Plymouth #1: Example Company

North Plant

Update: Alarm Critical: HVAC Temp: 165.45 F > 150 F
Alarm Clear: HVAC XV: 0.0421 in/sec > 0.2 in/sec

Alarm Clear: HVAC ZV: 0.1341 in/sec > 0.2 in/sec

Event at Nov 12 2020 5:09PM UTC-6

Format (SMS): 

([Asset Alarm State]: [Asset Name]: [Gateway Name]: [Company Name])

[Group Name]: [Alarm Condition]: [Alarm Name]: (Alarm Value) <Argument> (Alarm Threshold)


(Critical: HVAC Vibe: Plymouth #1: Example Company)

North Plant: Alarm Critical: HVAC Temp: 165.45 F > 150 F