OPC Increases Adoption in Europe and North America; Makes Inroads in China

Thomas Burke, president and executive director of the OPC Foundation, provides an update on the OPC certification process and discusses OPC activities in 2010, including accelerated international adoption.

Aw 1302 Burke

Welcome to the November 2010 edition of OPConnect, the official newsletter of the OPC Foundation. As we wrap up this year’s series of newsletters, I want to update you on significant events that have occurred in the world of OPC during the first three quarters of the year.

2010 has been an exciting year for the OPC Foundation and its members. With a global economic recovery underway, we have begun to see significant growth in OPC adoption, particularly in Europe and Asia. Economic indicators for 2011 point to increased improvement throughout industrial automation.

There has also been an increase in the adoption of OPC technology by the existing OPC base. More importantly there is a significant increase in end users and suppliers in leveraging OPC technology. This increased awareness translates to increased opportunities for all companies in the OPC community, which is defined as the OPC Foundation, its members and other OPC vendors.

The OPC Foundation has tracked double-digit percentage growth in the adoption of OPC technology by its members into new products. The growth continues to accelerate as OPC vendors introduce toolkits, and proactively provide training, consulting and extensive marketing of OPC technology throughout the year.

OPC Around the World From a global perspective, 50 percent of the OPC Foundation members are from Europe, while 33 percent are from North America. The Foundation is working closely with Europe, and in January we re-energized the OPC Europe Marketing Council, with leadership provided by our colleagues at Beckhoff and Siemens. The OPC Europe organization has successfully implemented a strategic marketing plan that increased membership and technology adoption through initiatives such as European trade show participation, OPC webinars, OPC working groups, and OPC direct marketing activities.

With Asia a strong growth market for OPC technology, the OPC Foundation has accelerated projects with the OPC Japan organization to provide the necessary marketing and technical leadership to increase awareness and adoption of the OPC technology. We are in the process of growing our OPC China organization and are hiring a full-time business development director in China to increase the OPC Foundation’s presence, and to provide the OPC vendor community with better access to the Chinese market.

OPC Certification Update

With end users driving the growth in OPC technology adoption, the need for certified products is more critical than ever. The fundamental testing philosophy of the OPC testing laboratories will ensure that products that are tested in the lab meet and exceed all expectations of the OPC vendors and end-user community.

End users are looking for opportunities for increased integration and interoperability, and at the same time are driving home the message to their suppliers that OPC products must exceed their expectations in the areas of reliability and security. End users are demanding that products from vendors work out-of-the-box and provide a solid architectural foundation for future growth, as technology continues to change on an almost daily basis in all areas of automation. The OPC Foundation Certification Program, with its focus on reliability, security, performance and robustness, will really drive a significant increase in the quality of products from all of the OPC suppliers.

The great technology advances throughout industry, in consumer electronics, industrial automation, building automation, security and anything with the word “smart” in front of it (grid, meters, energy) have really emphasized the importance of multivendor, multiplatform interoperability. I'm proud to say that the OPC standards have played a significant role in facilitating these interoperability opportunities. From a technical perspective, the OPC Unified Architecture specifications have been successfully released through IEC, which means that we have true international standards recognition for OPC UA.

My 2011 Predictions

Not content to rest on our 2010 laurels, the OPC Foundation is planning on more exciting developments in 2011, including marketing and technical activities to increase awareness and adoption of the OPC technology internationally.

The OPC Foundation’s mission is to develop the best technology to facilitate interoperability in industrial automation and beyond. Collaboration with our consortium partners has provided a significant opportunity for many of the OPC suppliers to expand their product offerings into other vertical markets.

My expectation over the next year is to see a significant increase in products from all of the OPC community, demonstrating a renewed commitment from the OPC suppliers and end users. OPC continues to thrive and we'll see even greater adoption in the next two years as the global economic climate drives the important requirements of multivendor, multiplatform interoperability.

I want to wish you, your family and all of your colleagues a very happy holiday season and continued success in 2011, from both a personal and professional basis.

Thomas J. Burke
Thomas.Burke@OPCFoundation.org
OPC Foundation President

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