March 2009

Special Report: Instruments and Networks

OPC UA: an end user's perspective

The updated specification relies on Web services for its data transportation providing significant advantages

Kondor, R., OPC Training Institute

OPC UA (unified architecture) represents the OPC Foundation's most recent set of specifications for process control and automation system interconnectivity. This article explains OPC UA from the perspective of the organization that will benefit from the connectivity—the end user. The first form of OPC relied on DCOM for its data transportation, which was very powerful and versatile, but posed a problem for those who did not understand how to configure DCOM. Instead of DCOM, OPC UA relies on Web services for its data transportation. OPC UA also uses objects to help with data description. Even though these are major additions and modifications to OPC, OPC UA will be backward compatible

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