Prosys in OPC Day Europe 2012

Prosys was sponsoring OPC Day Europe 2012 in Reinach, Switzerland on May 16th. The first OPC Day Europe was held in 2011, thus this year OPC Day Europe was organized for the second time and hosted by Endress+Hauser.

Likewise the first OPC Day Europe last year, this year’s day was also a great success: the day gathered 170 OPC enthusiastics to hear interesting lectures about what’s going on with OPC and OPC UA, and of course to meet other OPC enthusiasts. Most of the attendees were from Germany and Switzerland, but there were also attendees from other European countries, and even from Asia and the US.

OPC Day Europe 2012

A great deal of topics discussed in the conference and also at the sponsor booths were considering OPC UA, which implies that not only OPC Foundation but also other players in the field are looking into the future.

Mr. Jürgen Lange brought up 10 benefits of OPC UA compared to the Classic OPC. I am not going to go through them all, but I would like to pick up some key points from Mr. Lange’s presentation.

Platform Independence

OPC UA can be ported to any operating system: Windows, Mac, Linux, ARM platforms etc. Especially OPC UA in ARM devices has emerged a lot of interest and it was also discussed in other presentations and at sponsor booths. We also introduced Prosys OPC UA Android Client which was used for controlling our demo system, also introduced at

Secure Network Traffic

Security was another hot topic in OPC Day Europe this year. One of the benefits of OPC UA compared to Classic OPC is security: OPC UA ensures secure communication beyond the border of Firewalls and protects against unauthorized access to data. Dr. Mahnke’s presentation about OPC UA security brought up the following aspects of security that OPC UA addresses: Authentication and authorization of users (access for authorized users only); Authentication and authorization of applications (authentication and authorization of applications); Availability (data always available); Integrity (outsiders cannot manipulate the content of a message); Confidentiality (outsiders cannot read the content of a message); Auditability (tracking all important interactions). However, there are some security concerns that are not addressed by OPC UA, for example some user management issues (no standard way how to manage users like adding, deleting and assignment to roles).

Communication Reliability

OPC UA defines a robust architecture with reliable communication mechanisms, configurable timeouts, buffering of data and acknowledgement, automatic error detection and fast recovery in case of communication errors. It also provides keep-alive monitoring and offers redundancy features that can be applied to server and client applications to prevent loss of data and to implement highly available systems.

In addition to these three aspects, many other interesting benefits of OPC UA and also other issues were discussed in the conference. Prosys also introduced a beta version of OPC UA client GUI, developed with Prosys OPC UA Java SDK. It is still in development phase, but will be released in the near future. It will be a full powered OPC UA client application, capable of Data Access, Alarms & Conditions and Historical Data Access functionalities.

To spread knowledge of OPC UA Prosys will host OPC Day Finland next autumn. In addition to OPC UA, the focus will also be in MES and ISA95. We will publish more information about it in the near future.

I hope to meet you in Autumn at OPC Day Finland!

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