President’s Welcome

2016 was a outstanding year with all the new collaborations and extensions to the OPC UA technology. 2017 will significantly exceed the success of 2016!

OPC TEAM

First and foremost, I really have to give thanks for the hard work and dedication of literally hundreds of people actively working on the OPC Foundation working groups, including the joint working groups of our companion specifications, the OPC Foundation Technical Advisory Council, the OPC Foundation Board of Directors, and my very dedicated OPC staff. All of these people are really working closely together actively developing and marketing the best of breed technology that really aligns with our vision of providing specifications, technology, certification, and processes to be recognized as The Industrial Interoperability Standard™.

We have an extremely talented Board of Directors that is very engaged in the OPC Foundation strategy, vision, and daily operation. The Board of Directors is involved and very active in the OPC Foundation like never before. Every one of the board members is a marketing and technical evangelist for the OPC UA technology out ‘beating the drum’ for OPC UA adoption and deployment.

We have a very exciting Technical Advisory Council that is actively participating in the strategy and execution of the vision of the OPC Foundation with respect to complete open interoperability. We have over 20 different OPC UA and joint working groups actively working on new functionality and new information models to expand the reach of OPC UA into many new domains. It’s been very exciting watching the companies actively participate in the development of many OPC UA companion specifications that span a widespread number of consortia.  Last year we added 10 new collaboration partners, and I expect we will probably add 16 collaboration partners in 2017.

The OPC Foundation is all about doing distributed remote development leveraging the great technical expertise of the OPC Foundation members developing the best specifications, technology, certification, and processes to truly be the industrial interoperability standard.   Distributed development involves leveraging the technology of SharePoint and GitHub to maximize our efficiency. OPC working groups meet both face to face and with regular electronic meetings. Did you know that the OPC UA working group meets electronically twice per week?

OPC TECHNOLOGY

OPC UA technology development is well underway for the publish/subscribe architecture which will further extend information integration and system wide interoperability from the embedded world to the enterprise. The OPC UA technology was open sourced and available on GitHub, and this technology is under contract maintenance for the OPC Foundation to continue to improve the open source deliverables.

OPC UA is clearly positioned to be the Industrial Internet of Things infrastructure for moving data from sensors to the cloud. OPC UA security has been validated and endorsed by many organizations inclusive of BSI in Germany. We are actively working with all of the IoT protocols, adding full support of the IoT protocols directly into the OPC UA base architecture, inclusive of AMQP and MQTT. We have an extensible model that will allow us to plug in any IoT protocol of the past and present directly into OPC UA.

OPC CERTIFICATION

This year we’re rolling out a whole new OPC Foundation certification program to meet the demands and requirements of the OPC Foundation community. We have opened a new lab in Europe, run by our colleagues at Allmendinger. We have been actively working on the OPC UA certification tools to extend their functionality to incorporate certification of the multitude of OPC UA companion specifications under development. It’s exciting to watch the development of the certification tests to test the information models of other consortia and plug this directly into the OPC UA certification tool. We’re also going to offer non-members the opportunity to certify their products and buy the certification tool for their own product testing.

OPC COLLABORATIONS

One of the significant features of the OPC UA technology is information modeling. The OPC Foundation has partnered with many consortia for the primary purpose of developing an OPC UA companion specification. It models the information from the respective consortia and maps it directly into an OPC UA namespace. This allows the consortia partner members and the OPC Foundation members to take advantage of the rich feature set of the OPC UA technology providing data exchange services from the lowest level devices into the cloud.   Consortia partners automatically get the benefits of secure reliable interoperability for their respective information models. For a list of the active collaborations and how you and your company can get involved in these important initiatives check out the OPC Foundation collaborations (https://opcfoundation.org/markets-collaboration/) .

OPC ADOPTION

Adoption of the OPC UA technology continues to grow, last year ARC reported that there were over 45 million installations of OPC worldwide. With the key things that OPC UA is adding and spreading across multiple domains via our information modeling companion specification architecture the analysts are forecasting that by the end of this year we will have 120 million installations of OPC.

We are actively having many of our vendors participate in developing IIC testbeds that use OPC UA as the solution for information integration and interoperability. This again allows us to capitalize on awareness of the OPC technology and awareness of many of our members’ products expanding the reach of OPC beyond industrial automation.

OPC EVENTS

From an event perspective, the OPC Foundation is hosting many of its own events and participating in a multitude of tradeshows internationally. We have expanded our North American roadshow tour where we did five cities in 2016 and now we are doing 12 in 2017.  I highly encourage you to check out the OPC Foundation website for the events (https://opcfoundation.org/events/)  that the OPC Foundation is participating in or endorsing.

Complete information about opportunities to sponsor the OPC Foundation newsletters, the OPC North American seminar tour, and participate in the many tradeshows that the OPC Foundation has a booth and may be found at:

Please check out the OPC Foundation website and stay active in the OPC community to take advantage of the many technology and marketing programs that the OPC Foundation offers.

We’re actively updating the events section of the OPC Foundation website.   (https://opcfoundation.org/events/)

CLOSING THOUGHTS

The OPC Foundation started in 1995 to develop an interoperability specification to allow devices in process control and factory automation to be connected to the first-tier visualization applications. The commitment of the OPC Foundation was to continue developing best-of-breed specifications and technology to truly be the industrial interoperability standard, and at the same time supporting all of the classic legacy specifications that the OPC community has adopted and embraced over the last 21 years. Some people say we should wait on the next version of the OPC technology as it still under development. There is never a reason to wait because we guarantee that the new technology will always work with the old. OPC wants to stay current and literally we live on the bleeding edge making sure that we are building an architecture for the future. Join the OPC Foundation and learn about all the exciting initiatives that are currently underway or planned for the future to allow your company to achieve complete global system-level interoperability.

The OPC Foundation expanded the newsletter program from four newsletters in 2016 to doing six newsletters in 2017 because of the volume of information and making sure that the OPC Foundation is providing the latest and greatest timely information.

Thanks again for taking time out from your busy day to read this edition of the OPC Foundation OPC Connect newsletter.

–Tom Burke
President and Executive Director
OPC Foundation