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Object Management Group and OPC Foundation Announce Collaborative Strategy for the DDS and OPC UA Connectivity Standards

The Two Standards Organizations, along with the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC), Industrie 4.0, and leading DDS and OPC UA Vendors Enable Immediate Industrial IoT Market Adoption

Needham, MA and Scottsdale, AZ—April 13, 2016—The Object Management Group® (OMG®) and the OPC Foundation today announced a collaborative strategy for market and technical interoperability for the two leading standards for the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). The OMG and OPC Foundation have developed a technical positioning and FAQ document for usage of both the OMG Data Distribution Service™ (DDS) standard and the OPC Unified Architecture (OPC UA) standard.

The positioning document explains that the DDS and OPC UA standards are largely complementary and compatible. Both are important to the future of the IIoT. The document is a joint recommendation; it helps companies quickly implement an IIoT strategy.

The Standards

OPC UA is an industrial communication architecture for platform independent, high performance, secure, reliable, and semantic interoperability between sensors, field devices, controllers, and applications at the shop-floor level in real-time as well as between the shop floor and the enterprise IT cloud. OPC UA allows SoA based easy "plug and produce" scenarios. The information about the system, its configuration, topology, and data context (the metadata) are exposed in the collective "address space" of the individual OPC UA servers. This data can be accessed by authorized OPC UA clients that can see what is available, and choose what to access. OPC UA truly supports timeless durability, as new networking technology is developed it can be plugged into OPC UA seamlessly. Client/Server, Pub/Sub and cloud protocols are integrated into OPC UA.

DDS provides location transparent, interoperable, secure, platform independent, real-time data sharing across any kind of network.  DDS lets applications define and share user data with controlled "Quality of Service" (QoS) such as performance, scalability, reliability, durability and security. DDS hides network topology and connectivity details from the application, providing a simple yet powerful data-sharing abstraction that scales from local area networks to fog and cloud computing. It can support even large fan out and sub-millisecond latency. DDS defines a "common data-centric information model" so that applications can run "plug & play" with very little or no deployment configuration.  System configuration details are deemphasized to ease redundancy and interoperability.

Today, there is little overlap between DDS and OPC UA in applications. Even when used in the same market (e.g. energy) the use cases are quite different.  OPC UA provides client-server interaction between components such as devices or applications. DDS is a data-centric "bus" for integration and peer-to-peer data distribution.  Because the focal applications and approaches for DDS and OPC UA are different, most applications clearly fit better with one or the other.

The OMG and OPC Foundation are working together on integration and have developed two ways for the technologies to work together. First, an "OPC UA/DDS gateway" will permit independent implementations to work together. Second, "OPC UA DDS Profile" will enable integrated use cases.  Both are in active development.

Customers must choose a standard path now to implement a successful IIoT strategy.  By working together, the DDS and OPC UA communities will provide a non-proprietary path to interoperability, regardless of the customer's choice of starting technology.

This press release and the accompanying document are released by the standards development organizations responsible for both standards (OMG and the OPC Foundation), and supported by two major consortia using the standards (IIC and Industrie 4.0). It is a truly cooperative result of our joint drive to enable the IIoT.

Supporting Quotes:

"The OPC UA and OMG DDS standards complement each other and are both important to the success of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)," said Dr. Richard Soley, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Object Management Group (OMG) and executive director of the Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC). "One of the critical standards requirements coming out of the IIC testbed program is the need to link between standards. Today's announcement is a milestone in bridging complementary standards."

"The Internet of Everything, inclusive of IIoT, IoT, M2M, Industrie 4.0 (and the list goes on) is rapidly changing the way people think and operate in this new world of information integration and complete connectivity," says Thomas J. Burke, OPC Foundation President & Executive Director. "The OPC Foundation is truly committed to information integration and interoperability, and the partnership and collaboration between the OPC Foundation (with OPC UA) and OMG and IIC provides the complete infrastructure and solution necessary for the suppliers and end-users to achieve complete connectivity and information integration."

"The OMG® Data-Distribution Service™ protocol is the proven data-connectivity standard for Industrial Internet applications ranging from smart grids, healthcare, transportation, military and aerospace, simulation, unmanned vehicles, automation to smart energy," said William Hoffman, president and COO of the Object Management Group®. "We are delighted to work with the OPC Foundation as the two communities continue their long history of bridging IIoT standards."

"Interoperability and connectivity are crucial to the rise of the Industrial IoT," said Stan Schneider, CEO of Real-Time Innovations (RTI), the leading provider of DDS technology. "RTI has a long history in standards development.  We are members of the OMG, the OPC Foundation, and 15+ other consortia in many industries.  We also lead many of the technical teams and testbeds at the IIC and sit on the IIC Steering Committee.  I am glad that our experience let us play an important role in developing the relationships and technologies to cooperate with the OPC UA community. This joint approach will greatly accelerate IIoT adoption."

"A key component for Industrie 4.0 and Industrial IoT are open and standardized communication platforms," said Matthias Damm, OPC Board member from Unified Automation, the leading provider of OPC UA technology. "We support and lead several technical collaboration working groups that ensure seamless integration of OPC UA with other industry standards. The collaboration of OPC UA and DDS is an important step towards IIoT and Industrie 4.0."

"The Platform Industrie 4.0 initiative proposes OPC UA as connection from the office floor to the top floor," said Thomas Hahn, Siemens AG, Chief Expert Software, VP OPC Foundation and member of the technical steering board of Platform Industrie 4.0. "Furthermore, Siemens, as a founding member of the OPC Foundation, has supported this technology for many years. We see OPC UA as an IoT standard which is interoperable, scalable and supports security standards."

"OPC UA provides secure and open information exchange throughout the automation system," says Ziad Kaakani, Global System Engineering and Architecture, Honeywell Process Solutions. "Honeywell has been active in the OPC Foundation and in adopting OPC UA and believes that OPC UA is a vital enabler for Industrial IoT. OPC Foundation collaboration with OMG will result in an ideal solution for automation customers from the sensor to the IT Enterprise and Cloud."

"Easy interoperability is an enabler for innovative Industrie 4.0 and Industrial IoT scenarios," says Veronika Schmid-Lutz, Chief Product Owner for manufacturing products at SAP SE. "SAP is leveraging and supporting standards like OPC UA for a much simpler information exchange between heterogeneous systems and devices."

"The future growth and success of the Industrial Internet will require us all to speak the same language when it comes to connectivity standards and technical interoperability," said Danielle Merfeld, Vice President, GE, Niskayuna Technology Center & Technology, Director of Electrical Technologies. "This is exactly what the collaboration between DDS and OPC is helping to foster. We're proud to support their efforts, which will reduce existing industry barriers, solve complex problems and help everyone to grow and prosper in the emerging Internet of Things (IoT)."

"OPC UA and DDS are critical communications technologies enabling Industrie 4.0 and the Industrial Internet of Things," said Jamie Smith Director of Embedded Systems at National Instruments. "It is important to National Instruments that our customers will be able to cleanly integrate both DDS and OPC UA technology into advanced control and measurements systems based on our platform. Industry standards are critical to our strategy so the collaboration of OPC UA and DDS aligns with our vision of interoperability for the IIoT and Industrie 4.0."

For more information about this program and to access the OPC UA and DDS FAQ, please visit: http://www.rti.com/go/opcf-omg

About OMG

The Object Management Group® (OMG®) is an international, open membership, not-for-profit technology standards consortium. OMG Task Forces develop enterprise integration standards for a wide range of technologies and an even wider range of industries. OMG's modeling standards enable powerful visual design, execution and maintenance of software and other processes. Visit www.omg.org for more information.

Note to editors: For a listing of all OMG trademarks, visit http://www.omg.org/legal/tm_list.htm. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

About The OPC Foundation

Since 1996, the OPC Foundation has facilitated the development and adoption of the OPC information exchange standards. As both advocate and custodian of these specifications, the Foundation's mission is to help industry vendors, end-users, and software developers maintain interoperability in their manufacturing and automation assets. The OPC Foundation is dedicated to providing the best specifications, technology, process and certification to achieve multivendor, multiplatform, secure, reliable interoperability in industrial automation and related domains. The organization serves over 440 members worldwide in the Industrial Automation, IT, IoT, Building Automation, Oil & Gas and Smart Energy sectors.

Visit opcfoundation.org for more information.

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RTI, Real-Time Innovations, RTI Data Distribution Service, Connext and 1RTI are registered trademarks or trademarks of Real-Time Innovations, Inc. All other trademarks are property of their respective companies.

Year: 2016

Posted on April 13, 2016

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About RTI

Real-Time Innovations (RTI) is the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) connectivity company. 

The RTI Connext® databus is a software framework that shares information in real time, making applications work together as one, integrated system. RTI is the largest vendor of products based on the Object Management Group (OMG) Data Distribution Service™ (DDS) standard. 

Learn more »

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