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Differences between SCADA and HMI

Differences between SCADA and HMI

Supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems are used to monitor and control industrial, infrastructure, and facility processes. Human-machine interface (HMI) terminals provide operators with the ability to interact with these SCADA systems. While both SCADA and HMI are essential for monitoring and controlling processes, there are some key differences between the two. This article explores those differences.

What is SCADA?

SCADA stands for supervisory control and data acquisition. SCADA systems are used to monitor and control industrial processes, such as manufacturing, power generation, and water treatment. SCADA systems typically include a central computer that collects data from a network of remote devices, such as sensors and actuators. The central computer then uses this data to generate alarms, control processes, and provide information to operators. SCADA systems are essential for the safe and efficient operation of many industrial facilities.

What is HMI?

  • HMI is an acronym that stands for Human-Machine Interface. It refers to the interface between a machine and a human operator. HMI typically includes some combination of visual displays, voice recognition and synthesis, haptic feedback, and physical controls. The goal of HMI is to make it easy and intuitive for humans to control the machine, while also providing feedback on the machine’s status.
  • HMI design is an important aspect of many fields, including industrial design, mechanical engineering, and software development. When done well, HMI can greatly improve the efficiency and safety of a machine.
  • When done poorly, HMI can be a major source of frustration for users. As such, HMI design is an important consideration in any application where humans and machines interact.

Differences between SCADA and HMI

SCADA and HMI are two acronyms that you may hear used interchangeably, but there are some key differences between the two technologies. SCADA, or Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition, is a system that is used to remotely monitor and control equipment.

  • SCADA systems are often used in industrial settings, such as factories or power plants. In contrast, HMI, or Human Machine Interface, refers to the graphical interface that allows humans to interact with a machine.
  • HMIs can be found in a variety of settings, from office buildings to automobiles. While SCADA systems are designed to interface with machines, HMIs are designed to interface with humans. As a result, HMIs generally have a more user-friendly interface.
  • Another key difference between SCADA and HMI is that SCADA systems can be used without an HMI. However, an HMI is required in order for humans to interact with a machine.


Although SCADA and HMI share some similarities, there are also several key differences. The most important distinction is that SCADA systems are used for remote monitoring and control of industrial processes, while HMIs are typically used in more limited applications such as controlling a single machine or process.

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