Let’s look back on the year we have had and then at the upcoming year. This year, we saw an increase in demand for certified products from end-users. As a result, the test labs have been busy. Since they support remote testing, COVID has not been a factor for them and the testing numbers are back to pre-COVID numbers. Another detail of note is that the types of products that are being tested have changed; we are seeing more products that implement multiple interfaces (such as Client and Server or OPC Classic and UA) and the products also support multiple information models.
We had 2 releases of the Conformance Test Tool (CTT) this year. The releases have been focused on enhancing test cases and automated testing coverage. They introduced Alarm and Condition testing. They enhanced Historical and Aggregate testing. They included an initial round of Client test case improvements, and new tests cases for best practices. We have also updated the infrastructure of the CTT and incorporated a commercial SDK. The infrastructure has better support for loading test extensions and has an improved threading model. These infrastructure updates will allow for faster additions of new functionality. They also provide better support for Companion Specification specific testing.
We have updated the interoperability (IOP) infrastructure to better support hybrid IOP events, where vendors can attend physically or virtually. This has been a great step forward, since pandemic-based travel restrictions can change any minute. From these workshops we have learned that vendors are not only interested in an interoperability testing opportunity but they are interested in a platform to discuss the latest OPC UA features with others. At times these discussions included proposed new enhancement or clarifications to the OPC UA specification.
Outlook for 2022
When looking forward into 2022, we still feel that pandemic restrictions and issues will remain, but at this point we think we have adjusted our business model to handle it well. We know we will have a lot of new items, in the coming year. Part of our goal is to automate more testing, which will make testing a product easier and faster. Initial support for PubSub testing should be out early 2022. This will be followed by support for OPC UA FX certification. We will also be adding other new OPC UA functionality such as AliasNames, Elliptical Curve Cryptography (ECC), role-based security, and more. We will continue working on improving client-based testing, which will include improved automation of client testing. Later in the year initial Time Sensitive Networking (TSN) support will be added. In addition, we will be providing testing for a number of companion standards, including standards such as MDIS, PLCopen, VDMA standards, and O-PAS from the Open Group.
We will continue working with other standardization bodies to reduce the number of testing labs vendors need to send their products to for certification. The details related to this will be explained in future articles as they become finalized.
If you do have questions on these topics or are interested in getting involved in our activities, please do not hesitate to contact us at compliance[AT]opcfoundation.org.