This article gives an introduction and definition about OPC Foundation Joint Working Groups (OPC-F JWG). It specifically lists basic rules and explains the process for JWGs.
All templates and guideline documents referenced in the following paragraphs can be downloaded from here: https://opcfoundation.org/Guidelines-And-Templates/.
OPC UA is a series of specifications providing multivendor multiplatform secure reliable information integration interoperability from the embedded world to the cloud. Key parts of OPC UA are about information modeling and provide the foundation for other organizations to facilitate complex data modeling.
The modelling capabilities of OPC UA are fundamental for semantic interoperability. An increasing number of standard OPC UA information models for specific domains have been created or are currently under development. These OPC UA information models are described in what is known as OPC UA companion specifications.
OPC UA companion standards address use cases and with that increase the applicability and adoption of the OPC UA technology in different verticals.
A list of active or completed developments can be found in:
Overview OPC UA Information Model Activities
- https://opcfoundation.org/developer-tools/specifications-unified-architecture for released companion specifications
- https://opcfoundation.org/markets-collaboration for an overview of collaborations resulting often in companion specifications
The OPC Foundation provides support to other consortiums and standard organizations to develop the OPC UA companion specifications via an infrastructure known as joint working groups (JWG). A “Joint Working Group (JWG)” is a working group formed between one or more organizations (subsequently called “cooperating organizations”) and the OPC Foundation. The goal of the JWG is the development of an OPC UA companion standard for use cases defined by the cooperating organizations. It includes a compliance testing strategy to insure compliant implementations of the OPC UA companion standard.
„Joint“ means, that
- OPC and the cooperating organizations (the collaborating parties) sign an agreement (details see below).
- Members of the collaborating parties are invited to participate in the working group.
- The cooperation and its purpose are announced to all OPC members and exposed on the OPC Foundation web. Press releases may be issued as agreed by the collaborating parties.
- The working group operates under the project governance process described in the agreement
A “joint companion specification” is not a technology of the OPC Foundation. The OPC Foundation does not guarantee exclusiveness and cannot prove that the use cases of the cooperating organization are fulfilled.
Participation of OPC Foundation members is voluntary. There shall be no expectation that OPC-F provides resources for the JWG.
If an OPC UA expert is needed please check if the list of registered Consultant experts here: https://opcfoundation.org/about/opc-foundation/experts/
Criteria for a joint working group
The OPC Foundation has set some defined rules to enter a cooperation:
- The companion specification will not address core OPC UA topics; i.e. it does not compete with the core OPC UA technology.
- The cooperating organization certifies that there is real demand for this model, has resources to develop the companion specification, and can nominate a chairman. (The chairman has to be a member of any of the collaborating parties).
- The JWG will coordinate with other working groups that work in similar areas or work on overlapping definitions.
Creating a joint working group
- The process starts with an “OPC Multi-Org Agreement” (MOCA) and a charter.
The MOCA shall be based on the OPCF-Multi-Org-Cooperation-Agreement-25MAY2020
The charter shall be based on the OPC 11050 – WorkingGroup Charter Template
- The charter will be handed over to the OPC Director of Technology (see contacts below)
- The OPC Control Boards (Technical TCB and Marketing MCB) and the OPC Technical Advisory Council (TAC) will review the charter (conducted by OPC Director of Technology)
- Next, a Kick-Off meeting date is scheduled (2-3 weeks after the review) and announced with a call for experts to OPC-F members (conducted by OPC President)
- The joint working group will use the OPC 11020 – UA Companion Specification Template.
Three essential stages of completion
A released specification is a major Milestone. However, specifications may have errors or may not be precise enough for interoperable applications. In additions, the demand for stable implementations grows rapidly which requires certification and other tests. Therefore, the OPC Foundation has defined three essential stages of companion work completion:
- Stage: Specification
This is the stage when a companion spec has been released. It means that specification and machine-readable Information Model (NodeSet) have been completed and a proof-of-concept implementation exists. The result has been reviewed by both organizations.
- Stage: Adoption
This stage is reached, when implementations of at least two different vendors exist and have been tested in a PlugFest – for instance an OPC Foundation Interoperability Workshop
- Stage: Certification
Finally, this stage indicates the availability of a test specification and the implementation of test cases and tools that allow products to be certified in an OPC TestLab.
If interested in such a cooperation please contact
Technical Director: Karl Deiretsbacher – firstname.lastname@example.org