Microsoft demonstrate commitment to the OPC UA standards
Earlier this month, the OPC Foundation unveiled 30 of its 40 Azure IoT Suite Connected Factory interactive walls. These walls, which will be displayed at Microsoft Technology Centers across the world, show Microsoft’s commitment to the OPC UA standards, which focus on ensuring seamless OT and IT integration and security. Azure plays a key role in these walls, as they show a bidirectional connection to the cloud platform: Devices will push telemetry data to the platform, and the cloud will enable secure browsing via OPC UA from the Azure IoT platform and optional command-and-control devices.
Microsoft’s first demonstration of OPC UA integration with the Azure IoT Suite first occurred at Hanover Fair in April of 2016; at the event, more than 30 companies presented OPC UA-enabled devices. The OPC Foundation and Microsoft then decided to promote the Connected Factory concept with freestanding demonstration walls. The Connected Factory concept shows it to be a viable solution for various initiatives, including Industrial IoT, Korea Manufacturing, Industrie 4.0, and Made in China 2025.
Jason Zander, Corporate Vice President of Microsoft Azure believes OPC UA is a “critical standard for ensuring interoperability” in manufacturing.
We have been working with the OPC Foundation on building up 40 OPC UA devices walls which are currently being distributed to the Microsoft Executive Briefing Center in Redmond, worldwide Microsoft Technology Centers, the IoT Labs in Redmond, Germany and China and the newly established IoT Innovation Center in Taiwan, to demonstrate the strong ecosystem with connected OPC UA devices and the Connected Factory preconfigured solution running on the Azure IoT platform.
The OPC Foundation, first formed in 1996, aims to encourage the development and use of OPC information exchange standards. By creating and encouraging the use of these standards, the foundation aims to ensure operability between end users, developers, and vendors. Serving more than 470 members across the globe, the foundation has become even more important with the unrelenting growth of the Internet of Things, industrial automation, and the rise of new industrial computing and networking technology.
The OPC Unified Architecture (UA) is both a platform itself and a vendor-independent communication technology. Its high emphasis on security makes the OPC UA a viable option for the burgeoning cloud and IoT, and its focus on reliable data exchange provides assurances for industrial entities and others that demand reliable performance. Broad support for OPC UA across many fields makes it a critical factor for the changing role of IT and other computer infrastructure.