The OPC Foundation was pleased to announce the publication by the ARC Advisory Group entitled ‘OPC UA momentum continues to build’. This 11-page executive overview provides timely insights into what makes OPC UA the global standard of choice for industrial data communications in process and discrete manufacturing industries. In addition, the report provides a list of ARC recommendations for process manufacturers considering adopting OPC UA.
Set against the backdrop of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and Industry 4.0, the report examines OPC UA from multiple perspectives, including how it differs from other connectivity technologies and standards. Topics examined include the technology OPC UA is based on and the OPC Foundation’s initiatives, collaborations and governance.
The report provides a well-rounded view of why OPC UA is so popular today and why it will continue to grow in relevance for years to come.
Key take-aways the report offers include:
• OPC Foundation is run independently and transparently, the OPC UA standard is open and vendor agnostic, and the standard and companion specifications are freely available to everyone. All these factors help maximise OPC UA adoption.
• OPC UA is an enabler for next-generation automation standards that will, according to ARC, potentially change the industry structure of process automation, e.g. Ethernet Advanced Physical Layer (Ethernet APL), NAMUR Open Architecture and the Open Process Automation Forum (OPAF).
• OPC UA is arguably the most extensive ecosystem for secured industrial interoperability.
• OPC UA is independent of underlying transport layers. As such, it uses the most suitable transports for the right applications (e.g. TCP, UDP, MQTT and 5G).
• OPC UA is highly extensible via its information modelling capabilities. This makes OPC UA an excellent fit for use by automation vendors and other standards organisations wishing to express and share semantic data seamlessly across verticals.
• The OPC Foundation’s Field Level Communications (FLC) Initiative is defining a new OPC UA Field eXchange (OPC UA FX) standard that is supported by virtually all leading process automation suppliers.
• OPC UA FX will extend OPC UA to the field level to enable open, unified and standards-based communications between sensors, actuators, controllers and the cloud.
• Forward-looking companies should make OPC UA a crucial part of their long-term strategies today because the changes this technology brings will become a necessity faster than most people anticipate.
“Industry faces issues today as a result of the post-pandemic new normal,” said Craig Resnick, vice president, ARC Advisory Group. “These include, for example, maintaining supply chain integrity, the ability to shift to remote operations, the need for operational resilience and sustainability, and maximising cybersecurity protection, which all require a single framework for secure interoperability and information exchange, as well as a common interoperability technology from cloud service providers to process field devices. Today this is mandatory for processors and manufacturers to grow and remain viable. OPC UA is the standard that solves these interoperability challenges, and acts as an ecosystem enabler to ensure that multiple open standards, such as Industry 4.0, NAMUR NOA, OPAF and Ethernet APL can seamlessly work together. The goal is to ensure that all business and control information is based on a single version of the truth, allowing companies to maximise their growth, productivity and profitability.”
Stefan Hoppe, president and executive director of the OPC Foundation, added: “This ARC report serves as an excellent independent overview of the role OPC UA plays in the IIoT era. Packed with facts about OPC UA, ARC’s expert industry insights and practical recommendations, the report provides a great starting point for those considering adopting OPC UA as the core of their data interoperability infrastructure.”
The report is available at https://tinyurl.com/nd6ebmhj
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