Microsoft has committed to working with the OPC Foundation to enable interoperability between the millions of industrial Internet of Things applications and equipment compliant with the OPC UA standard.
Microsoft will further enable its industrial IoT customers to connect a broad range of manufacturing equipment and software that can span decades of investment with extended support of the OPC UA open source software stack.
Interoperability between devices and assets is critical for today’s factories, which are increasingly bringing new and legacy systems online and modernizing their plants and facilities. OPC UA provides a standardized communication, security, metadata and semantics abstraction for the majority of industrial equipment. It also serves as a gateway to cloud-enabled industrial equipment, including data and device management, insights, and machine learning capabilities for equipment that was not designed with these capabilities built in.
Microsoft’s extended support for the OPC UA open source software stack spans its IoT offerings, from local connectivity with Windows devices to cloud connectivity via the Microsoft Azure platform. Integration with Azure IoT allows customers to easily send OPC UA telemetry data to the Azure cloud, as well as to command and control their OPC UA devices remotely from the Azure cloud. In addition, Windows 10 devices running the Universal Windows Platform can connect and openly communicate with other IoT devices via OPC UA.
“As Industry 4.0 reaches a tipping point, we believe that openness and interoperability between hardware, software and services will help manufacturers transform how they operate and create solutions that benefit employees’ productivity,” said Sam George, director, Azure Internet of Things at Microsoft. “Microsoft’s support of OPC UA in Azure IoT and Windows IoT will reduce barriers to industrial IoT adoption and help deliver immediate value.”
“OPC UA is widely recognized as a key communication technology for the Industry 4.0 initiative,” said Thomas J. Burke, OPC Foundation president and executive director. “Microsoft’s support for standards that foster IoT innovation, and specifically for OPC and OPC UA, results in easy, direct and more secure communications from programmable logic controllers on the shop floor to the top-floor world of IT.”
The OPC Foundation recently elected Microsoft’s Director of IoT Business Development Matt Vasey to their Board of Directors, which represents many of the world’s most prominent global suppliers. Microsoft’s first became a member of the OPC in 1995.
“OPC-UA is an essential component of the connected products that manufacturing customers need today, and it is increasingly seen as an important part of enterprise IoT scenarios and business models,” said Vasey. “I am personally excited to be working with the OPC team to help our customers unlock the value of these high-value IoT scenarios that span from the edge to the cloud. Microsoft is committed to openness and collaboration and fully supports OPC-UA and its evolution.”