OPC Training Events Back on Track in 2010

Thomas Burke, president and executive director of the OPC Foundation, announces the resumption of OPC training events for 2010 and previews a development effort to adapt legacy OPC solutions to the Microsoft .NET environment.

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Welcome to the November 2009 edition of OPConnect, the official newsletter of the OPC Foundation. 2009 has been a very challenging year economically for both the OPC Foundation and for many of the OPC Foundation members. Because of the recession, we put our road show program on hold this year, as well as the OPC Foundation’s participation in many of the industry trade shows. What we learned was that these events are very important to vendors and end-users in the marketing and evangelism of the OPC vision.

And so, I’m very excited to announce that we plan to restart the OPC training events in 2010, and we will hold a special OPC international conference in Amsterdam during the year. We will also continue to host the very successful developer workshops and interoperability workshops, which further expand the adoption and validation of the OPC technology. I invite you to regularly check the OPC Foundation Website for upcoming event announcements and schedules.

The OPC Foundation Mission

I am often asked, what is the mission of the OPC Foundation? The mission of the OPC Foundation is to deliver the best specifications, technology and corresponding process to facilitate secure, reliable interoperability. This enables our members to deliver the highest quality products that work in a multiplatform, multi-vendor scenario.

After defining the mission of the OPC Foundation, it makes sense to ask, how do we measure success? My standard answer is: Success is measured by level of adoption. OPC is dedicated to solving the problems that end-users want solved with respect to multivendor interoperability, which in turn provides a solid foundation for the vendor community to actually deliver products and services. The OPC Foundation is not interested in developing non-pragmatic technology that end-users and vendors do not want or need. This is not a research endeavor; this is all about increasing revenue and decreasing costs. My personal responsibility as president and executive director is to facilitate the OPC Foundation vendors’ successful delivery and deployment of products that clearly leverage the OPC Foundation technology.

We are dedicated to collaboration and continuing to enhance the portfolio of specifications, technology and corresponding processes that will expand the reach of secure, reliable interoperability. The OPC Foundation has been actively engaged in many areas outside of the typical industrial automation arena, including building automation, security, home automation and energy, such as the smart grid. By collaborating with other standards organizations, we have been able to leverage the infrastructure of OPC to promote interoperability through partnerships.

A good example of this is the key initiative to enhance the OPC Foundation portfolio through the inclusion of the Express Interface (Xi) technology. Xi is a client-server architecture, based on the Microsoft .NET framework, that provides secure and robust real-time and historical data transfer between Xi client and Xi servers, regardless of their network location. A group of OPC vendors are developing a solution to integrate classic OPC, which uses the Microsoft Distributed Component Object Model (DCOM) for data transport, and address problems of security, reliability and complex configuration on Microsoft platforms in a .NET environment.

I encourage you to actively participate in the many OPC Foundation programs and establish regular dialogues with the OPC Foundation staff. For all administrative topics and discussions, please contact Mike Bryant, administrative director, at Michael.Bryant@opcfoundation.org.  For technical topics and discussions, please contact Jim Luth, technical director, at Jim.Luth@opcfoundation.org. For marketing related topics, contact Manny Mandrusiak, vice president of marketing, at Manny.Mandrusiak@opcfoundation.org. For compliance related topics, contact Nathan Pocock, our director of certification, at Nathan.Pocock@opcfoundation.org. And, most importantly, for anything related to your OPC Foundation membership, contact Lynne Froehlich at Lynne.Froehlich@opcfoundation.org.

The OPC Foundation Web site, at www.opcfoundation.org, is an excellent source to locate OPC and OPC UA products. It includes an online product catalog and information on vendors that have certified their OPC products in the independent certification test lab. For more information on the OPC working groups and consortiums, you can also visit the OPC Foundation Web site, or send me your thoughts and comments at Thomas.Burke@OPCfoundation.org.

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