In this economy the importance of open standards cannot be underestimated. It is difficult to develop open standards with a volunteer staff from competitors attempting to work together, when the individual companies are really watching their expenses, and cannot afford to dedicate resources. Companies are very hesitant to dedicate resources to standards that they fear will only be academic in nature, where academic is defined to be a wonderful research project that vendors will not deploy real products or services anytime in the near future.
The OPC Foundation participated in a global meeting of other standards development organizations hosted by NIST in the Washington DC area. The significance of the government playing a leading role in making sure that standards are being developed to allow best-of-breed information modeling and information exchange between the smart grid and other alternate energy opportunities as part of overall government mandate with significant money flowing to fund the development of his efforts shall play a significant role in standards being successfully adopted and deployed into real products and solutions.
It’s even more important that we take the opportunity to look at existing standards and make the best fit effort to provide an infrastructure that allows interoperability between various domains. The OPC Foundation has been actively working in the building automation arena through its vendors actually developing OPC clients and servers that allow information integration between industrial automation and building automation. There is a significant opportunity that the OPC Foundation has embarked on that further allows even tighter integration between the various domains. This is the OPC Unified Architecture which allows information modeling of applications and devices to be discovered and transported via data acquisition type services to other applications.
Many companies are looking at open standards as a mechanism in this economy to actually lower their development costs, and to be able to increase market share by having products and offerings that interoperate with their competition. Many of our big companies take the opportunity to use open standards to get their foot in the door into customers that use their competitor’s product, and can do so because the customer is not require to completely overhaul their plant to use their products when products are designed based on open standards for interoperability.
OPC has been very successful in industrial automation and has achieved a great deal of interoperability as a de facto standard over the last 15 years. There seems to be a great opportunity in building automation to more tightly integrate data and information integration between industrial automation and building automation. Customers leveraging building automation products in the commercial arena and in industrial automation truly want to have information flow to make the best use of their assets in this strain global economy.
It is very important that the end-users work with offenders and motivate them to leverage truly successful nonacademic open standards like OPC to allow the end-users to pick and choose products that truly are best of breed and that can be deployed in a multivendor multiplatform secure reliable interoperable fashion. OPC is a significant player in the arena of interoperability, and is actively partnering with many other standards bodies in a collaborative fashion to provide a service-oriented architecture allowing the information models from the other consortiums to be tightly integrated into the complex systems of today and tomorrow.
For more detailed information about the OPC Foundation please refer to the OPC Foundation website at www.opcfoundation.org
The OPC Unified architecture has been deliberately designed for the highest degree of scalability allowing interoperability to truly be leveraged in both embedded devices and the opportunity to move data information from these embedded devices all the way through to the enterprise.