Better OPC interoperability: Help for system integrators

OPC Foundation is helping system integrators and distributors gain marketshare and provide quality services in deploying different vendors' products. End users seem likely to benefit greater interoperability.

04/22/2008


Scottsdale, AZ – The

OPC Foundation

has launched a program aimed to help increase market share for system integrators and distributors and to help members
The Foundation’s original focus was vendors who were developers of shrink-wrap products and the provision of specifications, technology, and certification for multivendor interoperability.
From a user perspective, the trend is to leverage system integrators and distributors of custom systems via products from multiple OPC vendors. Custom software will improve user systems through custom OPC components that complete integration projects. OPC needed to provide a mechanism and membership class to help integrators and distributors design, develop, and certify custom software. User expectations are that integrators will increase proficiency through OPC technology.
“Initially, the system integrator makes the end-user happy by putting together a system that consists of certified OPC products from multiple vendors,” says Thomas Burke, OPC president and executive director. “However, problems sometimes arise as small pieces of custom software are developed to extend the functionality, which then compromise the integrity of the system. Frequently, that simple little OPC component was not developed exactly to specifications, so making things work together is difficult…We are calling on the myriad of OPC system integrators out there who routinely use OPC to solve problems in the field to sign up and help raise the overall quality and reliability of OPC products.”
The Foundation is creating a new SI&D membership category with a fixed fee of $1,500. “For this the SI&D member gets access to OPC specifications and reference implementations (sample code) on which to base his products,” explains Burke. “Our free Compliance Test Tools are also available to him so he can self-certify his own custom OPC components. A special listing of SI&D members will be kept and end users will be actively encouraged to use these members for their projects.”
The launch of OPC’s Unified Architecture covers all levels of enterprise connectivity, often outside the direct automation arena. Burke urges users to join now. New specialist SI&D training events are planned, together with a series of Webinars;.a new certification scheme will award successful trainees the Certified OPC Provider’ status.
Burke adds, “We are now establishing a network of new test lab services to ensure top product quality and reliability, particularly for Unified Architecture components, and our goal is to ensure that all developers, including the new SI&D membership, take full advantage of the services we offer.”
Also, from Control Engineering , see Better interoperability: OPC Foundation certification test lab .
In February, OPC Foundation announced support for

integration of analyzer devices into OPC Unified Architecture Platform

.
–  Control Engineering News Desk
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