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President’s Welcome – Dec 2023

    Good morning, good afternoon, good evening – wherever you are in the world!

    Celebration: 20 years OPC UA standardization

    This time my greeting does not start with a thoughtful look at crazy things that happen in the world of standardization – but with something unexpectedly very pleasant: In preparation for the SPS trade fair, we created a timeline that displayed the “OPC Success Journey – Setting the Standard for Interoperability since 1990” on a 10 meter-wide wall. By accident, we noticed that the first OPC UA workgroup meeting was held on 3-7 November 2003 and that we were, therefore, celebrating 20 years of OPC UA standardization. We quickly bought confetti cannons and had a lot of fun at the OPC Foundation booth. Actually, come to think of it, it was crazy!

    The basis for the standard was laid in just 3 years and OPC UA v1.00 was released in 2006 – so we will be celebrating 20 years of OPC UA availability in 2026 – with sustained stability and without losing backward compatibility. The first public OPC UA success story known to us was written in 2009 in the field of green energy with wind turbines from Areva-Multibrid in the Alpha-Ventus wind farm.

    Please download the PDF here and let us know if you can contribute to the story!

    Highlights SPS trade show

    Let’s continue with other highlights announced and celebrated at the SPS trade show:

    • OPC UA Field Initiative: launch of the I/O working group
      The completion of phase 1 of controller-to-controller (C2C) communication means that the first products can be expected next year. The FLC team has now started phase 2, with a focus on controller-to-device (C2D) and has also launched the I/O working group. Further information can be found here.
    • OPC UA Cloud Initiative: 53+ vendors submit standardized data to AWS and Microsoft Dashboards
      Compared to 2021, which highlighted 2 companies, in 2023 there are now a total of 53(!) companies that have sent “OPC UA over MQTT” messages directly from their devices. The OPC UA MQTT prototyping group is also preparing the next implementations; like OPC UA method calls over MQTT. I truly believe that “OPC UA over MQTT” will be the de facto standard for standardized communication between OT and cloud; and also between cloud applications.
    • OPC UA Cloud Initiative: Digital Product Passport (DPP) and Product Carbon Footprint (PCF)
      The most popular demo shown at the OPC booth addressed the provision of the upcoming EU regulations: The EU is working on requiring every product to provide a Digital Product Passport (DPP) to publish e.g. the Product Carbon Footprint (PCF). Erich Barnstedt, of Microsoft, made the DPP and PCF available in an OPC UA server, as a digital twin in the Edge/Cloud, in a matter of just 3 days, with help from others. The solution is available as open source and, with OPC UA emerging regulations, can be easily implemented on a stable platform. More details here.

    General Assembly Meeting 2023 – Recording

    The purpose of the OPC Foundation General Assembly is to provide an overview of: the election of the Board of Directors, the financial report, OPC UA technology and certification, and marketing activities. The election was special this time as, for the first time, we received two nominations for representatives from Chinese companies. With 7 candidates for 5 seats, it shows that the OPC Foundation is attractive worldwide, bringing relevant groups together to share thoughts and visions about industrial interoperability – regardless of the nation! There are many wars, and different economies prove challenging; however, the OPC Foundation continues to try keep politics out and to focus only on interoperability standardization. And to be clear, I personally have been advocating for years for a Chinese OPCF member to join the Board!

    For 2024, I will try to highlight OPC UA success stories of Chinese companies in the world or companies in projects within China: We want to show the world that we are all just engineers trying to make the world a better place from the perspective of interoperability.

    My congratulations go to all my re-elected fellow Board members – I look forward to another intensive time together on the Board.

    The presentation and recording are available here: Link

    Technology News: 29 Publications in 2023! Call for Reviews and Participation

    I hope you are familiar with the “OPC Technology News” and have subscribed to it to always receive the latest technology-related information immediately, such as publications of specifications, calls for reviews, or calls for participation in newly founded groups.

    In 2023, we have already published an incredible 29 (!) specifications – most of which are new specifications in version 1.0! For another five specifications, the comment period ends this year and one call for participation has already been launched.
    This page shows the great work of the community in a very simple and transparent way – please subscribe!

    Companion Specifications

    In total, the OPC Foundation hosts 151 information models, at the conclusion of 2023, and the number is constantly growing. The new landing page allows an easy search with special filters. Link

    At this time, I would like to highlight the new energy-related standardization work:

    • “OPC UA for Energy”
      Earlier this year, at Hannover Messe 2023, we announced a new initiative “OPC UA for Energy”, including working groups for Energy production, transformation, distribution, storage, and consumption. These multiple working groups are coordinated and harmonized by their initiators, Espen Krogh of Prediktor/TGS and by Chris Muench of C-Labs.

      I was able to listen to Espen’s presentation during the OPC Day Norway and Finland and was impressed with all of these activities: Saving the world from CO2 point of view requires more green energy – more and quicker green energy requires worldwide, reliable standards for better scalability. I extend my highest respect and THANK YOU to Espen.

    Success Stories

    Earlier the year, Espen Krogh also provided a success story from the company SCATEC, implementing OPC UA in both the largest photo voltaic and largest wind turbine park in the world.

    Get more details about OPC UA in solar energy production but, also, other success stories from Swiss company Bühler, highlighting “OPC UA in the world of food production”: The Swiss machinery manufacturer Bühler plays a crucial role in meeting the basic food and mobility needs of two billion people. This is because a large proportion of the machines used in food production and die casting come from Bühler. More information

    Events 2024

    OPC Foundation will participate in lots of international trade shows around the globe to demonstrate the secure, semantic interoperability, scaling from field to cloud, as well as digital twins. I invite you to have a look at the 2024 international events posted on the OPCF website:

    Outlook to the future

    In addition to the many activities in 2024, the OPC Foundation has also set a new focus: We want to offer easy access and easy learning of OPC UA technology. Our offerings for information management will include the UA framework with technology, security, modeling, accompanying specifications, the ecosystem, and much more. We have already started the project and I look forward to presenting the result in 2024. We are also preparing an offering to meet EU regulations, not only for the Digital Product Passport (DPP) and Product Carbon Footprint (PCF), which we have already shown live at the SPS fair, but we are also planning a special 2-day security conference to inform attendees about the requirements of the EU Cyber Resilience Act (CRA) as well as the solutions that OPC UA offers.

    Retirement as Secretary OPC Foundation

    Last, but not least, I would like to say a big THANK YOU to Mike Bryant in his role as Secretary of the OPC Foundation for 22 years. Mike retires at the end this year from his positions at OPC Foundation. Please welcome the new Secretary – read more details here.

    Slow down

    Not everything we wanted for standardization in 2023 has come true and, in fact, the “normal world” has not gotten any better. When you see what’s happening in the world on TV, it makes you unsure. I used to think that many things are better in our world of technical standardization, because we work together wisely – but that’s not true either: the “not defined by me” argument leads to double standards, instead of us all using our resources to save the world.

    And yet, or perhaps because of that:

    I wish those who celebrate Christmas around the world a Merry Christmas and I would like to wish us all a Happy New Year.

    In the hope of a more peaceful 2024!


    Stefan Hoppe
    President, OPC Foundation