Open control swells as Windows NT evolves as standard platform

Automation users and suppliers' interest in PC-based open control software (OCS) continues to grow as native Microsoft Windows NT and its real-time extensions become the de facto standard platform, according to a new report, NT- & CE-based Open Control Software Outlook—Five-Year Market Analysis and Technology Forecast through 2003 by Automation Research...

01/01/1999


Automation users and suppliers' interest in PC-based open control software (OCS) continues to grow as native Microsoft Windows NT and its real-time extensions become the de facto standard platform, according to a new report, NT- & CE-based Open Control Software Outlook—Five-Year Market Analysis and Technology Forecast through 2003 by Automation Research Corp. (ARC).

The study also found that Windows CE will influence the OCS arena, especially when Microsoft releases version 3.0 with real-time capabilities. It reports CE-based control will follow shortly after real-time performance is assured in either standard CE as Microsoft ships the OS or with real-time extensions similar to those for NT. CE is expected to be a complementary platform, easily integrated with NT-based control and automation software.

Software is altering the control landscape fast enough that, for example, ARC's previous PC control market report considered only Logic Control and SoftLogic. However, ARC's reports adds logic control market acceleration was also slowed by 1997's "extension wars" waged by real-time extension suppliers. It says many users were reluctant to get too close to preliminary or Beta-release product. The report adds the NT- and CE-based open CNC and general motion control markets are opportunities for traditional suppliers to offer more options and an entry point for new providers.

The study concludes the OCS market is at a threshold as Windows CE promises to unify embedded control applications on the Windows NT platform. Since they share a common Win32 API, NT and CE can link many applications and allow users vertical integration among enterprise application levels. Consequently, though other PC platforms, such as DOS runtime kernels, QNX, VxWorks, Linux, and proprietary systems, are useful, many suppliers are opting for existing IT technologies to ease integration with existing business applications.

For more information, visit www.controleng.com/info .





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