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OPC Foundation's Year in Review

Thomas J. Burke, president and executive director of the OPC Foundation, summarizes key OPC Foundation activities during 2005, and highlights the Foundation’s 2006 marketing and technology program plans.

Aw 5429 Thomas Burke

Welcome to the December 2005 edition of “OPConnect,” the official newsletter of the OPC Foundation. The OPC Foundation lit a fire in 2005, literally (a real fire was accidentally started at an OPC Foundation certification meeting in July) and figuratively.

Key activities in 2005, from a technology standpoint, included the OPC Foundation Unified Architecture Development Working Group (with over 30 vendors participating), the kickoff of the OPC Foundation Enhanced Certification Program, and the release of the OPC Foundation Unified Architecture Early Adopter Program. Each of these programs addresses the needs for vendor deployment of products that promote certified, secure, reliable interoperability.

From a marketing standpoint, one of the key activities in 2005 was the launch of the OPC Foundation newsletter program—you’re reading the sixth issue of OPConnect. The newsletter is focused on communicating successful deployment of the technology from an end-user perspective. Other marketing activities included OPC Foundation vendors’ participation at industry trade shows, and OPC Foundation evangelism at various vendor events. The OPC Foundation continues to campaign for image awareness in our quest to make “OPC” a household word.

Proactive collaboration

Our marketing and technical focus is on proactive participation and working with end-users as the conduit to the vendor community, in order to develop products that deliver secure, reliable, interoperability. The Foundation was also proactive during 2005 in its collaboration with existing standards organizations, to build a platform for enterprise-level information communications. These organizations include the Instrumentation, Systems and Automation’s ISA-95 group for enterprise integration, MIMOSA, for machinery information standards, and the Open Applications Group for business software interoperability (OAGi).

The OPC Foundation also 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). This partnership provides a solid base for interoperable device configuration, diagnostics and runtime support for literally thousands of different devices, representing tens of millions of actual products installed in the field.

The OPC Foundation has increased its commitment to helping OPC marketing organizations in other geographic regions, including China and South Africa, in their efforts to evangelize, market and expand OPC adoption.

2006 highlights

The OPC Foundation’s 2006 marketing and technical plans focus on the development and deployment of the OPC Unified Architecture. OPC partnership and sponsorship with ARC Advisory Group, Microsoft and Automation World provide the foundation for evangelism of the OPC Unified Architecture standard.

To jump-start OPC UA in the developers’ community, the Foundation will host the OPC DevCon 2006 Event in May 2006, and will continue to promote the OPC Unified Architecture Early Adopter Program. To target the end-user community, we will launch multi-city OPC “Local Road Shows,” participate in key industry trade shows and end-user events, and continue to expand the OPC enhanced certification program.

In summary, collaboration and partnership have been the key enablers for the OPC Unified Architecture deployment. Active end-user commitment has been the driving force fueling its development. The OPC Foundation, working with the vendors and users, will focus on evangelizing and marketing secure, reliable, interoperability that will enable integration among all automation suppliers.

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

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