What’s more apparent today than ever before is the importance of secure, reliable interoperability in manufacturing systems. Manufacturers simply don’t have the time or money to troubleshoot a solution of mismatched components and standards. The OPC Foundation is very active in making sure we develop the necessary specifications and technology that members and nonmembers can successfully adapt into real products that work together to solve application problems.
I'm often quoted as saying the OPC Foundation is not interested in developing specifications that are not worth the paper they're printed on. We also don’t want to focus on developing specifications that some of our constituents consider “academic research” projects. While we incorporate advanced research and feasibility as part of our vision for the future, we are more interested in tactical solutions that include backward and forward migration opportunities for interoperability beyond automation.
To this end, the OPC Foundation has spent the last year investigating the best way to extend OPC technology to areas such as building automation, security, power generation, Smart Grid, petrochemical, pharmaceutical, and AutoSar, a system for on-board automotive diagnostics. We have a number of formal collaborations with the EDDL, MIMOSA, OpenO&M, and PLCOpen groups, in addition to OPC-UA working groups focused on a generic device model (DI), an analytical device interchange information modeling (ADI), and FDI (field device interchange).
2009 Major Goals
Major milestones for the OPC Foundation this year include:
1) The formation of an OPC Foundation Certification Lab in Scottsdale, Ariz., to certify OPC compliance and interoperability.
2) The complete release of the OPC Unified Architecture specifications, and an open-source type of licensing strategy.
3) The release of numerous companion specifications to OPC Unified Architecture that facilitate plug-ins to collaborative partners’ information models, inclusive of the FDI, DI, and ADI models discussed above.
4) The establishment of a working group for the second generation of the OPC Unified Architecture.
In summary, OPC Unified Architecture is the platform for developing products that interoperate in multi-platform environments and across the Internet. It provides high-speed, secure, reliable interoperability for moving data and information from embedded devices all the way through the enterprise, with stops at all levels between. (See this issue’s article, “OPC Goes Embedded”.)
The OPC Foundation provides the necessary specifications, technology and processes to certify compliance and interoperability, and is uniquely positioned for deployment in automation and many applications beyond.
OPC is for you. We want to hear from you how your company uses OPC and what we can do for you.
For more information, visit the OPC Foundation Web site, at www.opcfoundation.org, or send me your thoughts and comments at Thomas.Burke@OPCfoundation.org.