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OPC, OMG, IIC and Industrie 4.0 announce strategy

07 April, 2016

Two industrial communications standards organisations – the OPC Foundation and Object Management Group (OMG) – together with the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) and members of Industrie 4.0, have announced a collaborative strategy to achieve technical interoperability of their standards for the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT).

The organisations have issued a technical positioning and FAQ document for the OPC Unified Architecture (OPC UA) and the OMG Data Distribution Service (DDS) standards. The document explains that the standards are largely complementary and compatible, and is intended to help companies to implement IIoT strategies quickly. 

Currently, there is little overlap between OPC UA and DDS applications, with OPC UA providing client-server interaction between components such as devices or applications, while DDS is a data-centric “bus” for integration and peer-to-peer data distribution. Because their applications and approaches are different, most applications fit better with one or the other.

The OPC Foundation and OMG have developed two ways for their technologies to work together. First, an “OPC UA/DDS gateway” will allow independent implementations to work together. Second, an “OPC UA DDS Profile” will support integrated applications. Initial work to define both approaches is already underway.

“The Internet of Everything – inclusive of IIoT, IoT, M2M, Industrie 4.0 (and the list goes on) – is rapidly changing the way people think and operate in this new world of information integration and complete connectivity,” states OPC Foundation president and executive director, Tom Burke. “The OPC Foundation is truly committed to information integration and interoperability, and the partnership and collaboration between the OPC Foundation and OMG and IIC provides the complete infrastructure and solution necessary for the suppliers and end-users to achieve complete connectivity and information integration.”

OPC Foundation president Tom Burke: committed to information integration and interoperability

“The OMG Data-Distribution Service protocol is the proven data-connectivity standard for Industrial Internet applications ranging from smart grids, healthcare, transportation, military and aerospace, simulation, unmanned vehicles, automation to smart energy,” adds OMG president and chief operating officer, William Hoffman. “We are delighted to work with the OPC Foundation as the two communities continue their long history of bridging IIoT standards.”

“The OPC UA and OMG DDS standards complement each other," says IIC executive director, Dr Richard Soley. “They are important to the success of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). One of the critical standards requirements coming out of the IIC testbed program is the need to link between standards. Today’s announcement is a milestone in bridging complementary standards.”

Users will need to choose a standard path for implementing IIoT strategies. By working together, the OPC UA and DDS communities say they will provide a non-proprietary path to interoperability, regardless of the customer’s choice of starting technology.

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