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President’s Welcome – June 2024

    Building the Cloud Interoperability Standard

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

    Listening to End-users: The Cloud Initiative

    OPC is undoubtedly, widely recognized and OPC UA, as a common technology between OT and IT people, was first introduced into the OT world in 2007. But now, the end users are pushing their respective cloud providers to collaborate on easier interoperable connectivity of their automation solutions to cloud systems! In case you have additional wishes and/or you would like to participate, please contact us and let us know!

    Specifically, we always hear two main topics:

    1. End users want a secure, standardized, bidirectional transport of information to cloud providers.
      In most cases, the workshop/plant operators, as end users, decide which cloud/IT solution is used. A common standard for transport to a cloud provider, makes it much easier for machine builders, since they need only provide one standardized interface. PLC providers, such as Siemens, Beckhoff, Phoenix-Contact, Wago, and others have already integrated this standardized transport called “OPC UA over MQTT” – an OPC UA standard (Part 14) since 2018.
    1. End users want to preserve or retrieve the context of OT information in their cloud solutions.
      More than 150+ domain experts have already agreed on semantics in their markets: a hierarchical arrangement of data that becomes higher-value information through context and timestamps. At first, when cloud providers began to store this structured information, the contextual information was usually kept in a rather flat list of data. Significant pressure from end users on cloud providers needs to continue. Presently, some cloud suppliers have reacted and are already retaining the context of the information (Microsoft) or have announced that they are already implementing this requirement from end users (Amazon Web Services). The benefit of context-preserved information is easy to explain: AI and ML will immediately be able to analyze information.

    Intensive business life

    The months of April, May, and June have been incredibly intensive, with a high density of events, including major trade shows, such as Hannover Messe, Automate show in Detroit, Achema in Frankfurt, ARC Forum Europe, SPS in Italy, and the Oil & Gas Conference in Lisbon. Not to mention our own conferences, like our first OPC Security Summit and the OPC Day International. I truly believe in holding virtual meetings but it’s also much easier to build a personal relationship, visiting with people, in person, at least once – that’s why I invited Alex, in his role as the new OPCF Administrative Director, to travel with me to OPC Events in regions like Taiwan, Korea, and China.

    I would like to highlight some events:

    1. During Hannover Messe (details here), Achema (details here), and also the Automate show we showcased a lot of demonstrators that nobody can overlook: a huge number of networked devices pushing data via OPC UA over MQTT to cloud dashboards as well as 21 devices demonstrating UAFX based Controller-to-Controller communication. Additional, live demonstrations included: OPC UA over 5G, OPC UA Safety, and, to name the latest demo, The Digital Battery Passport, powered by OPC UA in cooperation with Huawei.
    2. OPC Security Summit addressing the EU CRA (European Cyber Resilience Act)
      With few exceptions, the EU CRA applies to all network-enabled products and must be implemented by all who are offering products within 36 months, without national law having to come into force. At the OPC UA Security Summit, on June 05-06, 2024 in Munich, prominent speakers from the EU Commission, German BSI, American FBI and CISA, and respected industry experts answered lots of questions about: What does it mean? What must be implemented by when? What does OPC UA already deliver? See more details (including the slides) here.
    1. OPC Day International – slides and recordings are available for download
      The complete list of presentations and the video recordings can be found here.

      For the first time in the history of OPC Days International, we issued a “Call for papers” in order to become aware of other content which we, in our daily business, are unaware.  We received incredible input and, thus, I would like to first thank all of the speakers for their impassioned presentations. Secondly, I would like to send a THANK YOU to all registered attendees – your attendance is motivation for us! It’s hard to select and highlight specific presentations. Standardization is making the world easier for everybody; both end users and suppliers. But the measurement for standardization is adoption – that’s why I loved the success stories from AkerBP & TGS (brownfield oil & gas) and Philip Morris International (PMI), as this is the first end user reporting about their achieved benefits of an OPC UA companion spec (Tobacco) for their industry. Have you listened to the Airbus success story about OPC UA in a civil research rocket? Isn’t that thrilling! In a welcome twist of perspective, wherein OPC UA has traditionally been marketed as traversing “from sensor to cloud”, remarkably, OPC UA is now looking from outer space down to the cloud!
    1. OPC Day Korea
      Our friends from KETI, who are hosting the OPC Hub in Korea, organized a two-day session, including a hands-on lab and an OPC Seminar day. Special thanks to Byunghun Song and Nam for hosting the event in their facility – it was great to speak to 92 registered people!


    New joint working groups (JWG)

    We have started three new joint working groups in June – Two more will be started in July:

    • June 18th: Kick-Off OPC & European “Vending, Office Coffee Service & Automated Retail“ (details here)
    • July 2nd: Kick-Off OPCF & VDMA „Hydrogen Electrolyzers“ (details here)

    Please subscribe to to receive instantaneous information about new specification releases, release candidates for review, and new working groups.

    Success Story: Imperial Tobacco shows the benefits of domain-specific information models

    I am personally proud about the next success story, as I was a little involved at the beginning. As a speaker at a couple of Beckhoff-hosted Tobacco events, I presented information about the benefits of OPC UA and domain-specific information models. I was thrilled to get an invitation to a follow up meeting in August 2016, which included companies: Philip Morris International (PMI), Imperial Tobacco Group, British American Tobacco (BAT) and Japan Tobacco International (JTI). To shorten the story, these four end-users invited their suppliers, hired an editor, and wrote the first “OPC UA for Tobacco” specification, which was released in an impressively short time-period in 2017. Then, after a couple of years’ experience in the field, the companion specification was extended to version 2.0 in 2022. I often say a standard takes a decade, from first idea to adoption in the industry, but in this case, it was much quicker. Involving suppliers is one of the keys!
    Read the success story here

    Our next success story from Airbus about OPC UA in a rocket in outer space will be published soon.
    Stay tuned – cool content coming!


    Vacation time!
    As you see the number of activities in which we participated throughout the world, you might imagine that we are all looking forward to a break in the summertime. My wish for all of you is that you find some time to relax, to slow down, and then return to your exciting daily routine with renewed strength.


    Have a good rest. Why not let your hair grow ;->

    Stefan Hoppe
    President, OPC Foundation