IoT suppliers commit to OPC UA

Feb. 4, 2022
AWS, Google Cloud, IBM, Microsoft, SAP and Siemens use OPC UA for secure, standardized data exchange

The OPC Foundation reported Feb. 1 that several major "Internet of Things (IoT) vendors" are adopting OPC UA communications and data exchange strategy and technology. They include Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud, IBM, Microsoft, SAP and Siemens. The foundation reports there are five factors driving the progression of OPC UA as a cross-platform, open-source, IEC 62541 standard for exchanging information from sensors to cloud-computing applications and services.

First, OPC UA is being adopted worldwide as the open standard of choice for secure production-system interoperability across OT and IT networks that rely on standardized data exchanges. There are presently more than 850 registered OPC Foundation members, including a large, rapidly growing ecosystem of end users, standards bodies and vendors.
Second, OPC UA uses a standardized method of defining, discovering and using information models (IMs) and services

associated with the production systems. This standardized approach to semantic information sharing prevents vendor lock-in and costly custom programming needed for non-standard IM ingestion in the cloud. With the recent launch of the OPC UA Cloud Library, OPC UA IMs are available to all cloud applications, making it easy for them to directly use OPC UA-based semantic information as well as live data from edge devices.

Third, as a transport-agnostic IEC standard, OPC UA supports two different communication patterns, including client/server, such as via TCP or WebSockets, and publish/subscribe, such as via UDP or MQTT, to meet different industry requirements from production systems to edge and cloud scenarios.

Fourth, OPC Foundation's quality assurance program extends to OPC UA's publish/subscribe communication patterns, and forms what it reports is the first multi-vendor, multi-cloud standard. Interoperability workshops for sending OPC UA data from controllers via MQTT have already started, and include PLC vendors such as Beckhoff and Siemens.

Fifth, end users benefit from and welcome the commitment from major IoT vendors that support OPC UA as a standard for IoT communications. The foundation adds that criteria for companies to be listed with the above features is they either presently support OPC UA over MQTT in their products or that it's on their development roadmap.

“It’s thrilling to see that OPC UA is the one solution harmonized for process and factory automation, scaling from field to cloud (and back)," said Stefan Hoppe, president of the OPC Foundation.