It can get quite confusing looking at all the different competing standards in IoT. However, if you really look into it, only a few of them are mature enough to really face the challenges in a connected world of devices.
One of these mature standards is OPC-UA. It is not an evolution, but a complete new development solving the problems the old implementation “OLE for Process Control” was targeting long ago on the factory floor. Back then, it was based on Microsoft OLE/DCOM Technology, which was never made for the age of the Internet.
Fortunately this new development called “OPC – Unified Architecture” started already a few years ago and well known manufacturing companies put a lot of effort into it to guarantee robustness, security, reliability and platform independence. These investments pay-off nowadays as IoT moves to grow into mainstream. OPC-UA offers solutions to most of the challenges we, as IoT developers, are facing at the moment and a foundation with more than 450 active members are still pushing to advance the standard to the next level, which is very promising looking at the future.
The great news is that Microsoft is now going to support OPC-UA as Rohit Bhargava (CTO, Worldwide Discrete Manufacturing, Enterprise and Partner Group, Microsoft) lays out in his very interesting “Don’t get left behind” blog post.
If you need more technical details I highly recommend this presentation by Clemens Vasters, Principal Architect for Microsoft Azure IoT Services, and Erich Barnstedt, Microsoft Engineering Lead for Windows IoT, from the OPC Day 2015 Europe event.
Quite exciting stuff: Microsoft and OPC Foundation are shaping a great vision for professional, industrial grade IoT solutions!