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IoT gateway uses OPC UA Publisher to link devices to the cloud

18 September, 2017

The industrial communications and automation supplier Moxa has joined forces with Microsoft and the OPC Foundation to develop an industrial IoT gateway with a built-in OPC UA Publisher module. By combining Windows 10 IoT and OPC UA Publisher, the MC-1121 gateway is said to offer a secure, reliable way of getting data from field devices to the cloud for analytics and monitoring.

Moxa predicts that the flexible, scalable gateway will open up new opportunities and business models for system integrators.

The gateway will simplify the transfer of device data to Microsoft’s Azure IoT hub. It includes interfaces for connecting Ethernet, serial and I/O devices, and can be used with Microsoft’s Connected Device Studio. It is suitable for all-in-one small-to-medium-scale deployments, or for connecting large installations to the cloud.

“Industrial IoT projects used to be complicated, requiring connection of a large number of equipment, devices, assets, and sensors,” says Cathy Yeh, principal project manager at Microsoft’s IoT Innovation Centre. She believes that the collaboration with Moxa will “accelerate and simplify networking system deployment”.

“The Moxa gateways leveraging OPC UA technology provide the key enabling solution necessary to address information integration between control systems across all industries and the IT world,” adds OPC Foundation president, Tom Burke. “End-users are demanding secure and reliable information integration connectivity, and Moxa's products truly will facilitate a complete solution connecting the edge with the cloud.”

OPC UA – which bridges the worlds of OT and IT – originally operated on a client/server model, but when dealing with hundreds or thousands of devices that need to be interconnected across multiple sites, a more scalable approach was needed. This led to the adoption of the publisher/subscriber model, which allows for more streamlined communication that offers improved scalability and resilience.

Moxa's IoT gateway links field devices to the cloud for analytics and monitoring

“The Industrial Internet of Things is a paradigm shift,” says Bee Lee, Moxa’s president of global sales and marketing, “providing businesses with new capabilities such as dashboards that show device status and data in real-time and on-demand production of customised products. This requires network infrastructure to do much more than before in order to support IIoT applications; it must be even more reliable, more secure, and capable of supporting real-time operations.

“Moxa’s commitment to versatile, reliable edge-to-cloud connectivity solutions,” he adds, “allows us to provide the connectivity necessary to bridge devices to Microsoft’s Azure IoT Hub by using OPC UA protocols, helping the cloud and edge to work together to help the IIoT reach its full potential.”

Moxa, Microsoft, and the OPC Foundation are also working on an OPC UA starter kit, while Microsoft is using Moxa hardware for Windows 10 IoT testing.

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