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OPC UA sees record growth in adoption

13 March 2017

In 2016 OPC UA experienced record growth in adoption, with industry analysts now forecasting that adoption will exceed 120 million installations by the end of 2017.

The OPC Foundation has been busy! It manages and supports the OPC Unified Architecture (UA) which was released in 2008 as a platform independent service-oriented architecture to integrate all the functionality of the individual OPC Classic specifications into one extensible framework. Things look set to remain busy for some time to come too, as the adoption of OPC UA across all industry sectors continues at a rapid pace. 

“The significant value of the OPC UA technology has been recognised and is now being realised across the World with literally thousands of products being released by the OPC community,” said Thomas Burke, president and executive director at the OPC Foundation. “The value proposition of OPC UA extends the OPC classic functionality in significant ways. Its big advantages include platform independence, security, reliability and most importantly information modeling. The information modeling aspect of OPC UA technology allows us to collaborate with many organisations beyond industrial automation; taking complex data models and plugging them into OPC UA.

“We have announced so many collaborations over the last 18 months my head is literally spinning. It’s amazing all the things that you can do with data and information and how important this is in the world of the industrial Internet of things (IIoT),” continued Burke.   
What is interesting about these collaborations and initiatives is how the end-user community now appears to be driving industrial interoperability across the globe. OPC UA technology has been chosen as the communications and information integration infrastructure across a range of industries. Key initiatives include the MCS-DCS Interface Standardisation (MDIS) network, which was formed as a result of the subsea vendors, oil companies and all of the DCS vendors collaborating to develop a standardised object model to harmonise data across their industry;  the pharmaceutical serialisation effort called Open-SCS,  which is important to the pharmaceutical companies working with the pharmaceutical suppliers to develop an OPC UA companion specification to address the serialisation being demanded by all the regulatory industries across international boundaries; and the effort and partnership between the Organization for Machine Automation and Control (OMAC) and the OPC Foundation,  where the industry has demanded an OPC UA companion specification to support the packaging industry,  with key companies like Nestlé and Arla foods being in the driver seat for developing a standardised information model that plugs directly into OPC UA.

In January 2016, the OPC Foundation announced that it had over 45 million installations of OPC internationally based on analysis from ARC. Industry analysts are now forecasting that OPC adoption will exceed 120 million installations by the end of 2017. “Much of this is a direct result of the OPC UA actively being used as the IIoT technology solution,” said Burke. “The market for M2M, IoT, IIoT is breathtaking, in terms of the volume and types of devices and applications necessary to meet and exceed the requirements of these important initiatives.”

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