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OPC DevCon News

It’s always fun to meet a fellow blogger in the real world, too.  I met Eric Murphy at the OPC DevCon here in Scottsdale.  He told me Tuesday morning that his OPC Exchange blog celebrated its first birthday then.  Join me in wishing him a happy blogiversary.  He promised to blog about some of the technical aspects of the conference so I’ll comment mostly on the fun stuff.

Conference demographics: Attendees came from every continent except Antarctica.  (The OPC Foundation membership is 45% in Europe and 35% in North America.  That explains why the first DevCon was in Munich.)  Eighteen US states and a couple Canadian provinces were represented.  We even had someone from Congress attend.  (Ok, he’s from Congress, AZ.  Once a ghost town, the Phoenix metropolitan area is expected to reach way up there this century; of course by then it will be the Phoenix-Tucson megapolitan area.)

I volunteered to help the OPC effort, but since the programming languages I had some skill in are no longer popular (there is apparently little demand for OPC software based on TRS-80 Level I Basic), I ran the bowling event.  I seem to be typecast as the bowling judge/monitor/proctor as I did this for the PTO General Assembly Meeting’s networking event a couple times.  We had some good bowlers this year; and a few not-so-good.  In the good category: Tom Burke and his wife Laurie.  Tom had three of the top five scores on the evening.  Regarding his bowling prowess, he said “What else is there to do in Cleveland?”  “Shovel snow” was my reply.  I was reminded that when you say “bowling” not everyone thinks ten-pin bowling.  New Englanders think candlepin bowling.  One of our Invensys/Foxboro attendees thought ten-pin should be easy: “The pins are so fat.  How can you miss them?”  (He finished last.)  Of course when I think “fat pins” I think duckpins…a reminder of my time living in Massachusetts, bowling in Buzzard’s Bay.

Back to seriousness, briefly, I liked the description of OPC UA that Tom presented:

“OPC-UA (OPC Unified  Architecture) extends the highly successful OPC communication protocol, enabling data acquisition and information modeling/communication between the plant floor and the enterprise.”  I had not thought of OPC UA as an enabler before, but clearly that’s what it is.  There is an infrastructure on which models can reside.  One example is presenting equal-opportunity access to EDDL and FDT.  This builds on the work done by FF, PI, and HCF in their cooperative team (which now includes OPC).  It will be interesting to see how the combination of EDDL and FDT in FDI play out.  This FDI acronym started just a few months ago at Hanover Fair and I blogged about it then.