Raleigh Report: OPC is dead

As many of these PROFINET one-day training events as I’ve done, there is always something new that arises.  There are also some things that are always the same.  We always get requests on the course evaluation forms to do some hands-on training.  With an average attendance of 80 or so, we just cannot carry enough equipment (or people) to fulfill that.  We always get contradictory suggestions, too – some want more Ethernet Basics, some want less.  This is because some attendees have previously viewed the archived Ethernet Basics webinars… and some haven’t.  In Raleigh, many had.  We will make the Ethernet Basics review shorter in the future though.  So if you are coming to a PROFINET one-day training event in the future, please view the first three webinars before coming.  We always get some praise and some constructive criticism.  Both are appreciated.  Let me share some of each with you:

   “Great job!  I’ve heard it was good – I agree.”  [Funny, I overheard a couple people talking before the class saying something very similar.]

   “Good job.  Kept it interesting.  Excellent price = free!”

   “Well worth the time.”

   There were a number of suggestions on changing the order and/or time spent on specific areas.  We take these into consideration as we update the course material.

 On the negative side:

 “Safety – A lot was skipped over in favor of opening the bar! NOT a good first impression.”  I did the safety presentation and I did skip several slides that I thought I had already covered the points of.  Safety could fill a whole day by itself, so we only provide a very high-level overview.  We didn’t really rush it to get the bar open; we did rush it a bit to finish at the scheduled time of 4:30.  I did describe it as rushing it in favor of opening the bar but that’s just my alleged sense of humor – I don’t drink.  Oh and yes, we do have a bar.  We encourage attendees to stay and talk to us and the exhibitors after the formal training is over.

On the something new side that demands an answer:

   “Worth the time – OPC is dead!!”  Whoa, I don’t know how we left that impression – the OPC part, that is.  OPC and PROFINET are complementary.  We do present an application story where the number of OPC Servers was reduced because of PROFINET.  Perhaps this person thought that PROFINET CBA (Component Based Automation) would replace OPC, but that’s not the case.  OPC was not designed to move data at a speed of 10 milliseconds.  PROFINET CBA is.  PROFINET CBA can easily integrate diverse controllers in a peer-to-peer architecture.  That way just one OPC server is needed, but it is still needed!

There was one other really good comment that needs some explanation, but the plane is about to land, so it will have to wait for my next post.