Data acquisition software is designed to collect, record, store, analyze and present data collected from digital devices such as sensors or gauges. Data acquisition (DAQ) is the digitizing and processing of multiple sensor or signal inputs, usually with signal conditioning. Supervisory and data acquisition (SCADA) is a common process control application that collects data from remote locations for processing by a central computer.
Data acquisition software includes data acquisition or DAQ software for general-purpose use, as well as application-specific and device-specific applications. Product categories for data acquisition software or DAQ software include analog signal conditioning software, digital signal conditioning software, instrumentation software, industrial control software, process control software, and discrete-state process control software.
Data acquisition software can range from simple data-collection applications to robust programs for measurement and control in industrial and commercial settings. Relatively simple DAQ software is used to control tasks such as starting or stopping a counter, sending a command to an analog-to-digital converter, or gathering data points over time from a sensor. More complex data acquisition software is used to convert acquired data into a variety of representations, such as plots and graphs or three-dimensional (3D) graphics such as charts. When used as part of a complete process-control system, SCADA software is often used with one or more computers at a remote site. SCADA HMI is a human machine interface (HMI) that accounts for human factors in engineering design. Specialized SCADA data acquisition software is also available. Data acquisition software includes products marketed as data mining software and data collection software.
Data mining software analyzes large data sets to find patterns. By analyzing these vast quantities of information, data mining software can be used to build predictive models or find optimal operating processes. Data mining software can also help companies to design products and services that best serve specific groups of customers. Data collection software is a device-specific application for gathering and organizing information. Many scientific or graphic calculators use data collection software to enhance their graphing and display capability. Laboratory sensors and handheld computers also use data acquisition software for a variety of medical and scientific applications.