What is OPC?
The acronym “OPC” stands for “OLE (Object Linking and Embedding) for Process Control”. OLE is based on the Windows COM (Component Object Model) standard.
OPC standard is implemented in server/client pairs. The OPC server is a program that translates the hardware communication protocol used by a PLC into the OPC protocol. The OPC client software is a program that connects to the hardware, such as an HMI. The OPC client communicates with the OPC server to receive data or send commands to the hardware.
How does OPC work?
OPC specification describes the interface between clients and servers, servers and servers, including access to real-time data, monitoring of alarms and events, access to historical data and other applications.
The classic OPC connection scenario is a single server-client connection on a single computer, but there are more options which include:
- Connecting an OPC client to several OPC servers. This is called OPC aggregation.
- Connecting an OPC client to an OPC server over a network. This can be done with OPC tunneling
- Connecting an OPC server to another OPC server to share data. This is known as OPC bridging
Technical Benefits of OPC
In addition to improving OPC server and client connections, the OPC DataHub can connect any OPC server or client to other applications as well, including Excel, a web browser, or any other database. And, it can be used to import OPC data into Linux or QNX.
Following OPC specifications are used in industries:
- OPC-DA (Data Access): Provides access to real-time data. We can query most recent
values of temperature, pressure, density, acceleration, and other types of process control data from OPC-DA server.
- OPC-HDA (Historical Data Access): This is used to retrieve historical process data for analysis. This data is typically stored in files, databases or remote telemetry systems.
- OPC-AE (Alarms & Events): OPC AE servers are used to accept and exchange
process alarms and events.
- OPC-DX (Data eXchange): It defines the way OPC server data is exchanged with other OPC servers.
- OPC-XML (XML Data Access): It defines schema and data representation formats based upon XML standard. This makes it possible to share & manipulate process control data across all operating systems – Windows, UNIX, Solaris, etc.
Benefits of using OPC standard are:
- Reduced load on the hardware device.
- Increased scalability of the system.
- Because of OPC server, client applications need not know anything about hardware protocol details.
- Though device need not serve multiple clients, So Increased life for the device.
- Interoperability (Unix/Linux and Windows – both platforms are supported by OPC)
eInfochips – OPC implementation
At eInfochips, we have provided embedded solutions for OPC’s industrial automation product line for our clients in embedded solutions. This includes detailed work on:
- BIS systems: Building Integration System , or BIS, is a software package that brings building automation, access control, video surveillance, intrusion, fire alarms and voice evacuation onto one convenient management suite. The classic OPC Server had implemented specific protocol over TCP/IP protocol to monitor and control different types of building integration system panels, which is able to interface with OPC client of the BIS system software.
- System alerts: In OPC Server, we had implemented OPC-DA (Data Access), OPC-HDA (Historical Data Access) and OPC-AE (Alarms & Events) specifications. For controlling and monitoring panels, OPC client fires different commands to the panels by using OPC server e.g. unlock door, lock door, arm area etc.
OPC server developed by eInfochips contains the following modules, functionalities and activities, listed below.
To know more about the IoT services and solutions
- Design, Development and Testing of OPC Classic server for different panels used in a building integration system with specific Automation protocol
- Implementation of following group commands on OPC Server,
- OPC server communication stacks integration (TCP)
- OPC server security – Command Authentication AES 256
- Client and status command implementation
We have also developed OPC Clients for our customers, running on Linux OS to communicate with OPC server over Ethernet. This further communicates with OPC server for Reading and Writing data/parameters. In OPC Client, we had implemented OPC-DA (Data Access), OPC-HDA (Historical Data Access) and OPC-AE (Alarms & Events) specifications. OPC Client will communicate with OPC Server for fetching data from the PLC. At the other end, it will send/receive historical and live data of temperature, pressure, density, acceleration etc. from the OPC server to the cloud for storage and analysis.
Blockchain and IoT both are present in the Gartner’s Hype Cycle 2017.
Clubbing Blockchain and IoT bring the Intelligent Digital Mesh
The Intelligent Digital Mesh
Gartner calls the entwining of people, devices, content, and services the intelligent digital mesh. It’s enabled by digital models, business platforms and a rich, intelligent set of services to support digital business.
Intelligent: How AI is seeping into virtually every technology and with a defined, well-scoped focus can allow more dynamic, flexible and potentially autonomous systems.
Digital: Blending the virtual and real worlds to create an immersive digitally enhanced and connected environment.
Mesh: The connections between an expanding set of people, business, devices, content and services to deliver digital outcomes 
What is Industrial IoT?
The term industrial Internet of things (IIoT) is often encountered in the manufacturing industries, referring to the industrial subset of the IoT.
Uses cases of Industrial IoT
Industrial Internet of Things brings a lot of advantages some of them are listed below:
- Predictive & Proactive maintenance
- Real-Time Monitoring
- Asset/Resource Optimization
- Remote Diagnosis
but all these are under the security threat. Blockchain has begun to have a significant influence on the Internet of Things by enhancing security, empowering the incorporation of an increasing number of devices into the ecosystem. The enhancements in IoT device security facilitate faster adoption of this revolutionary innovation and will open up a wide range of possibilities for enterprises in the days to come.
Blockchain and IIoT
IIoT solutions using blockchain can be built to maintain a continuously growing list of cryptographically secured data records protected against alteration and modification. It can set up trust, accountability, and transparency while streamlining business processes.
1. Blockchain reducing the cost of IIoT Solution
It is important for IoT edge devices to reduce processing overhead and eliminate the 'middle man' (IoT gateways) from the procedure. Communication, data exchanges, and device information are conducted on a peer-to-peer basis, removing any additional traditional protocol, hardware, or communication overhead costs.
2. Blockchain confirm and enable the trust
Blockchain empowering Industrial IoT solution with trust. It empowers devices to engage in transactions and communications with trusted parties. While device A may not know device B, and may not believe it verifiably, a permanent record of exchanges and information from devices stored on the blockchain confirm and enable the vital trust for organizations, individuals, and devices to cooperate.
3. Accelerate Data Exchanges
Blockchain eliminates the role of “ IoT gateway” or an intermediate device, which helps in improving data exchange in the process of data transfer. Peer-to-peer device based contracts and ledgers (blockchain) decrease time required to complete device information exchange and processing time.
4. Blockchain scaled security in IIoT Solution
Decentralized technologies hold great promise for a system that needs to handle storing and retrieving information of millions—if not billions—of connected devices. These future systems have to provide low latency, high throughput, querying, permissions, and decentralized control
Blockchain and IoT Solution in the Framework -
Ease of Implementation and Business Impact
High Business Impact and Ease of Implementation put this in the Quick win quadrant.
For Industrial Implementation- Lot of Frameworks, options are available from Ethereum to Hyperledger. IBM Hyperledger Fabric development in the past few months is noticeable.
Ease of Blockchain Implementation is a business challenge rather than a test of technology implementation as it involves connecting multiple parties across multiple processes.
Tibbo announced the release 5.4 of AggreGate IoT Integration Platform.
We've achieved great results in optimizing AggreGate server performance, especially event and value update storage performance. From now on, a single server can process and persistently store up to a hundred thousand events/updates per second, which is almost equal to 10 billion events per day. Such performance figures don't even require any high-end server hardware.
A new chapter has been opened by this release, presenting AggreGate's graphical and textual programming languages inspired by IEC 61131-3 standard, also known as "SoftPLC". Millions of engineers are now able to use AggreGate as a process control logic development environment.
One innovative feature of AggreGate's automation languages is tight integration of runtime with the Tibbo Project System hardware. Your programmed logic can access and control all Tibbit modules of a Linux-based TPS board/box. Currently available languages are: Function Block Diagram (graphical), Structured Text (graphical), Sequential Function Chart (textual).
Widget capabilities are no longer limited by the standard set of components. Now it can be easily extended. New Widget Component SDK allows to implement custom visual components in Java and use them in AggreGate widgets. Extend AggreGate's wide component palette with UI controls best suited to your needs!
We continue making our UI interface clearer and more user-friendly. The next step is lightweight icons. We redesigned them to be up-to-date with modern flat paradigm. New color coding assists users to navigate over various available toolbar actions.
Other major improvements include:
- Built-in timestamps and quality for data tables.
- Component connectors that allow to visually link UI components with each other.
- Secure and reliable Agent communications. Agent-Server communications now can be SSL-protected. When transferred data amount is critical, data compression can be enabled in parallel to encryption.
- Granulation, a brand-new highly customizable data aggregation and consolidation tool. The granulation engine allows to combine datasets into compact representation that contains all important aspects of original information in virtually any form suitable for later processing. This allows to reduce memory and storage consumption along with boosting data processing performance.
- Server remote upgrading. To reduce company's expenses, a remote AggreGate server upgrade operation is now supported. You can use our Unified Console application to connect to a remote server, upload a server upgrade bundle file and wait while the upgrade process is finished. That's it! All operations, including database backup, stopping server, upgrading and restarting will be performed at the server side automatically.
We are bringing our IT & Network Management solution (AggreGate Network Manager) to a new level by turning it into a full-fledged IT Service Management System. In this release, we introduce several essential instruments for that: Configuration Management Database (CMDB), metrics engine and topology-based root-cause analysis tools. Another ITSM functionality - IP address management module - is now available and you can use it out-of-the-box.
AggreGate 5.4 includes new device drivers: CoAP, MQTT, IEC 104, DLMS/COSEM, SMI-S.
You can get detailed information on the new 5.4 release, download and try the updated AggreGate IoT Platform on our website: http://aggregate.tibbo.com/news/release-54.html.
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