Microsoft is working with the OPC Foundation to enable virtually any industrial internet of things (IoT) scenario through interoperability between the millions of applications and industrial equipment compliant with the OPC UA standard.
Revealed at Hannover Messe 2016 in Germany on 25 April, the partnership will see Microsoft enable its industrial IoT customers to connect a broad range of manufacturing equipment and software with the extended support of the OPC UA open source software stack.
OPC UA provides a standardised industrial machine-to-machine communication protocol for interoperability between 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 built with those features.
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.
“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 of 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.”
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 Azure. In addition, Windows 10 devices running the Universal Windows Platform can connect and openly communicate with other IoT devices via OPC UA.
“OPC UA is the single, neutral, widely accepted standard to embrace the complex world of automation devices to easily and securely connect them everywhere,” said Stefan Hoppe, OPC Foundation vice president. “With the adoption by Microsoft to its Windows 10 operating system and Azure cloud, the OPC UA standard passes the critical milestone of general acceptance by the broader IT world.”
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