OPC UA Vendor Commitment to Certification and Quality

Tags: Thoughts from your OPC Foundation President

We've long believed in the importance of making sure that the OPC Foundation produces the best specifications, technology and process to enable our OPC Foundation members to build and deliver the highest quality interoperable products. The OPC Foundation initially was created with an open specification model to facilitate adoption of the OPC technology. One of the significant strategies that the OPC Foundation has employed to help achieve vendors shipping quality interoperable products is the whole certification program.

The OPC Foundation and a cast of volunteers that are OPC Foundation members have been doing a lot of work with respect to putting together the tools and infrastructure necessary for OPC Unified Architecture Certification. One of the significant things we're doing is really focusing to make sure that from the beginning to the end certification ensuring the highest degree of quality / reliability are built-in to the architecture and all corresponding products that are based on the specifications and technology.

The OPC Unified Architecture was initially designed with certification in mind providing a lot of these standardized attributes and diagnostics that provide significant diagnostic capabilities for the certification tools. The OPC certification is also based on leveraging the intuitive intrinsic design of discovery of the functionality and capabilities to provide a mechanism for adaptive testing.

In order to really achieve a level of certification and quality products that exceed the expectations of both vendors and end-users the OPC foundation has decreed to follow the model of many of the industrial Ethernet organizations that are in industrial automation by making certification mandatory such that the auditing/ validation of the certification execution is done in the OPC Foundation certification laboratories. This eliminates any possibility of ambiguity or subjective testing. It's truly an objective set of tools to assess the quality of the deliverables from our OPC Foundation members.

We have a dedicated team that has been actively engaged since the beginning of April 2009 developing the specification, test cases and corresponding test scripts, with a planned rollout of the first version of the OPC UA certification tool for both clients and servers being available in October 2009. Some of the companies are actively engaged in the development, while some of the other companies are passively engaged in the review of the deliverables. The companies that are truly dedicated to success in helping drive the future of the OPC Foundation certification programs are the following:

Ascolab, Honeywell, Kepware, MatrikonOPC, SMAR, Softing, Software Toolbox.

For those companies not in the list you're welcome to join the group to help us develop and review test cases and the development of test scripts to further expand our certification program focused at quality improvement. (For more details about participating in the OPC certification working group please contact Nathan Pocock.

OPC has focused on the process and making sure that the value proposition for both vendors and end-users provides a solid foundation for multivendor, multiplatform, secure, and reliable interoperability.

I'm very excited about the number of companies that truly are dedicated to helping develop the necessary tools and infrastructure for OPC certification and it's clear that the end-users can depend on these companies really building and delivering the highest quality certified products to the marketplace.

Font Tom's Blog: http://lists.opcfoundation.org/TomsBlog/archive/2009/08/26/opc-ua-vendor-commitment-to-certification-and-quality.aspx