LabVIEW with Mobile Devices

LabVIEW is a great fit for tablets
photo: Gary Honey

The growing use of mobile technology in people’s personal lives has started to influence how they want to approach their work.  Individuals have immediate information at their fingertips and now are looking for the same immediate access in their work environment.  Documents, e-mail messages, calendars and meeting reminders are already available, but how do users get real-time access to the applications being used around them?  Some existing applications send out text messages and email, but just as personal mobile usage has moved beyond these simple communication methods so can the business world.

How can LabVIEW interact with iOS, Android, or Windows 8 devices?  No one-size-fits-all solution exists, but instead there are multiple solutions with various benefits to fit the specific need.  Below are a few approaches and some pros and cons of each.

1. Web Browser

  • Browse to an internet page hosting data from a LabVIEW application with the mobile device.  The web server will connect to LabVIEW (through SSL (Secure Sockets Layer), CGI (Common Gateway Interface), websockets and more)
  • Pros:  Can connect from any web enabled device
  • Cons:  Separate webserver and webpage need created and maintained, requires skills in web development

2. Data Dashboard

  • Create a custom view of a remote LabVIEW application, communicating through network-published shared variables and/or web services.
  • Pros:  Can create a streamlined mobile interface
  • Cons:  Limitations on the types of data transmitted and complexity of the interface

3. LabVIEW Remote Panels

  • Remotely view and control a LabVIEW front panel on devices cable of running the LabVIEW Run-Time Engine.
  • Pros: Limited modifications necessary to existing LabVIEW application, identical interface on PC and mobile device
  • Cons: Only available on Windows 8 Devices

4. Native Client Application

  • Develop device software which communicates to a LabVIEW application through web services, websockets, .NET and more.
  • Pros: Complexity of the interface and data transmitted and received only limited by the mobile device
  • Cons: Requires custom client application development for each device type

As you can see there are several options for connecting a LabVIEW application to a tablet interface.  The developer will need to evaluate the pros and cons to determine the method that meets the needs of the target users.  Additional information on this topic is available from National Instruments here, and here.