By Drew Barrows,
OPC is open connectivity via open standards. Just as printer drivers filled a need for connectivity for Windows, we are seeing a similar paradigm shift in that Kepware Technologies' OPC drivers is filling a need for connectivity in automating communications in manufacturing. Interoperability is assured through the creation and maintenance of open standards specifications, and one such company that is making waves in the open seas of connectivity is a small Portland, Maine-based company called Kepware Technologies. The "automation" wave this company is making in the ocean of communication software is a curious one involving OPC and embedded device communications. Could it be that Kepware Technologies will become the open standard and technology of choice for third party vendors?
Since its beginning in 1995, Kepware has focused on the development of communication drivers to automation controllers, I/O and field devices. Its driver architecture combined with industry and third party vendor standards demonstrates Kepware's ability to deliver state of the art drivers and is beginning to be touted as the ideal choice for automation suppliers. Kepware's OPC software products are beginning to be viewed as the de facto standard for third party connectivity. Its new product offerings allow software vendors to use Kepware OPC clients and OPC servers as plugable components for the purposes of meeting the latest specifications for OPC-Classic and OPC-UA.
“Kepware is known as a driver company,” explained Tony Paine, executive VP and CTO of Kepware. “In actuality, we are a technology company with drivers as our main deliverable. Our new products are a repackaging of our existing technology – the industry’s best and certified OPC clients and servers – for license.”
“There is no doubt that Kepware is the leading supplier of OPC technology in the world,” said Thomas Burke, president of the OPC Foundation. “They deliver OPC products to end users, on desktops under private label agreements and embedded in panel products, enabling device connectivity with Windows CE-based panel products. It is my goal to see OPC become the plug and play interoperability standard for all markets dealing with real-time, message and history data transfer. Kepware is the right choice for OEMs that want proven OPC Interoperability and a partner that will manage it for them. ”Kepware appears to be in a unique position to deliver managed and certified OPC licensable components to automation suppliers
ARC Advisory GroupCraig Resnick, research director at ARC Advisory Group, commented: "Manufacturers, processors, and OEMs seek OPC interoperability and communication solutions designed to handle their specific automation and enterprise requirements with unquestioned reliability. However, when automation suppliers develop their own, or purchase OPC toolkits, they put their company’s reputation on the line when they deliver those solutions to their customers, as the performance of those solutions will have a direct effect on procuring future projects and orders. Kepware appears to be in a unique position to deliver managed and certified OPC licensable components to automation suppliers, based on their relationship with the OPC Foundation, experience in delivering interoperability and communication solutions, and the size and reputation of their solution’s installed base.”