So you have started using the award winning Secure Remote Access product from eWON, the Cosy 131, and now you are wondering what connection package might be right for you? In this blog, we’ll try to break down the key differences between the free connection software, Talk2M Free+, and the annual subscription software, Talk2M Pro.
First things first, what is Talk2M…? Talk2M is the cloud-based connection service that allows you to securely connect to your remotely deployed eWON devices. By utilizing the Talk2M connection service with an account for your organization, you are able to program and troubleshoot your machine’s PLCs remotely, just like you are there. You can monitor your installation by accessing your HMI, PC, IP Camera, device web pages, etc from Talk2M’s client software eCatcher.
Talk2M Free+ comes as part of your eWON purchase package but you may deploy it differently depending on your responsibilities. Whether it is the free version or the Pro version, for a machine builder, you’ll want to set up 1 account for your organization and then set up users within that account for each of your engineers.
For Your Standard Cosy 131 Usage there are 4 Key Differences:
Let’s look at each in a little more detail:
1. Number of Concurrent Users: Each time someone from your organization logs into their account and connects to an eWON remote access device they establish what is called a eCatcher VPN Connection. In a Free+ account, only 1 eCatcher connection can be established at a time. This might not ever be a big deal if you only have 1 or 2 engineers. In the most basic level of the Pro Version though, you can have 3 engineers logged on concurrently and build from there.
eWON also has a mobile platform, which allows users to access their web servers, VNC enabled HMIs or remote desktop enabled PCs from their smartphone or tablet. M2Web is browser based, so as a user you simply navigate to www.m2web.talk2m.com, enter your credentials and chose the device you want to access. With a Free+ account you get 3 concurrent connections via M2Web. Talk2M Pro gives you unlimited M2Web connections.
2. Data Usage – Data is the sum of all data volume between you, the remote engineer, and the eWON device. Typically, for industrial automation applications the 1Gb amount that comes with the free version is enough, but the Pro version jumps you all the way up to 6Gb per account.
3. Advanced User and Device Management – In reviewing everything, my personal opinion is that this is the most important one to think about in organizations with 2+ remote engineers. In Talk2M Pro, your company’s administrator can set up users, groups of users, devices, and groups of devices. With this you get the ability to grant access for an engineer or group of engineers to connect to either (1) all eWONs you have deployed, (2) eWONs at a certain customer site, or (3) only specific devices connected to an eWON. This provides a level of granularity throughout your organization to grant access to only what each user requires. Many machine builders and end users find comfort in this as it gets away from the “world is your oyster” access to everything model.
Note – if you are a System Integrator and setting this up for an End User so they can remotely access their own equipment, this too is very valuable. If they have a team of engineers, they may only want certain ones to access certain machines or parts of the plants. Pro makes this feasible while Free gives them access to all the eWONs deployed in the master account.
4. SLA – While our experience has been excellent regarding connectivity (eWON hosts more than 12 servers spread throughout the globe), with the Talk2M Pro you connect to servers with an annual availability of 99.6% and a Service Level Agreement, an SLA. This is nice to have if you are accustomed to SLAs but again, in our experience, the standard service has been incredibly reliable.
Those are some of the key differences.
Here are answers to a few commonly asked questions:
Can I start with Talk2M Free+ and upgrade to Talk2M Pro if I decided we are ready? Yes, absolutely. Your organization’s account administration can request an account upgrade in the account section of their login. Under Credit & Contract there is an option to “learn more about Talk2M PRO”, and from there you can request the upgrade. A quick form later and you have an email confirmation with your account details you can forward to Rumsey with a request for quote for part # TM50041. Once the order is process with Rumsey you’ll receive your Talk2M Pro activation within 3 business days.
How much is the Talk2M Pro Account? Talk2M Pro accounts start at $1,200 annually for 3 concurrent users.
What about Security – like 2 Factor Authentication? Both the standard Talk2M and Talk2M Pro support 2 Factor Authentication.
We hope this helped. There is no definitive answer for any one eWON customer but the Pro does offer some significant advantages for a pretty cost effective price and we hope this helped you determine what might be right for your organization.
What additional questions do you have? Let us know –
This Rumsey article was also recently republished, with permission, by eWON – find a copy here for your reference.