OPC Celebrates 10 Years of Innovation

March 1, 2006
Thomas J. Burke, president and executive director of the OPC Foundation, discusses key technical and marketing milestones for OPC, as the Foundation celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2006.

Welcome to the March 2006 edition of OPConnect, the official newsletter of the OPC Foundation. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the OPC Foundation, and we have several technical and marketing events planned for the coming months.

The major technical activities in 2006 include the release of the OPC Foundation Unified Architecture (UA) specification, the release of the first stage of the OPC Foundation Enhanced Certification Program, an OPC UA Developers’ Conference, and several OPC Foundation collaboration programs and interoperability workshops.

The OPC Foundation will host a “Road Show” program in 2006, consisting of a series of technical seminars that launch in May in Houston. Follow-up cities include Atlanta, Chicago and Boston. Stay tuned for more details.

Continuing on the success of the original OPC Foundation "Jump Start" programs, which were developed ten years ago for the OPC Data Access specifications, the Foundation will launch a "Jump Start" program for vendors and end users of the OPC Foundation Unified Architecture. The Developers’ Conference for the OPC UA is planned for fall of 2006 in Europe, while this year’s North American Interoperability Workshop will be held in Las Vegas. At this important event, multiple OPC solution providers will test their products to ensure that they work together seamlessly and reliably—truly taking the "gamble" out of OPC interoperability.

The release of OPC Unified Architecture will include the widely acclaimed wrapper/adapter technology that will allow existing Distributed Component Object Model (DCOM) based products to be instantly brought forward to the new OPC UA as Web Services. Included with the release of the specifications will be a complete reference implementation, providing the framework for the adoption of the technology.

Membership has its benefits

One of the significant benefits of being a member of the OPC Foundation is the OPC Foundation’s Certification Program, which includes an automated self-testing program, regional interoperability workshops, and an "enhanced" certification program that will include third-party certification through permanent interoperability labs and end-user or interoperability staging sites.

Strategic and tactical at the same time is the OPC Foundation’s emphasis on collaboration. Major activities on this front include a focus on partnership and collaboration with other standard organizations to provide interoperability into the domains of enterprise connectivity, and a focus on device configuration and diagnostics.

The OPC Foundation is actively working with the OpenO&M (Operation & Maintenance) group, which is a collaboration between the Instrumentation, Systems and Automation Society’s ISA-95 group for enterprise integration, MIMOSA, (Machinery Information Management Open Systems Alliance) for machinery information standards, and the Open Applications Group for business software interoperability (OAGi). As well, the OPC Foundation supports the Electronic Device Description Language (EDDL) effort, which is a collaborative partnership with the Fieldbus Foundation (FF), Hart Communication Foundation (HCF), and the Profibus Nutzerorganisation (PNO). These collaborations provide a means for potentially competitive organizations to work together in joint partnerships.

The OPC Foundation is also working with the Microsoft Manufacturing Users Group (MS-MUG) and leveraging the services of ISA and the ARC Advisory Group to continually tap into the end-user community through surveys, end-user events and a variety of technical symposiums.

For more information, please visit the OPC Foundation Web site, www.opcfoundation.org.

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