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Interoperability Speeds Progress

By Marie Charpentier

Economic recovery is on everyone’s minds these days, positive projections, upgrades that fine tune products to meet an ever changing market, and strengthen business ties are steps in the right direction. One example of this old fashion ingeniousness is a communication software company headquartered in Portland, Maine – Kepware. In January, Tony Paine was promoted as President in preparation for anticipated growth in the upcoming year. Momentum is continuing as the company upgrades their award-winning KEPServerEX and strengthens their partnership program.
 
Paine previously held the Executive VP / CTO position which fully prepared him to have responsibility for all operations of the company.   Corson Ellis, former President and now Chairman, said, “Kepware is growing fast, and becoming the leading supplier of communications software to large companies, both software suppliers and large end users. Our customers and partners will need more products and support from us in the years ahead. Tony is the right person for the job. He is deeply knowledgeable about the industry standards from a technical and market perspective; he is a great manager of people, and a strong strategic thinker.”  
 
Besides a positive outlook, forward action must be wise and economical. Companies are looking for solutions that allow them to use the equipment more efficiently or upgrade existing systems with least costs. The key word to accomplish this competitive edge is interoperability!  The newly released KEPServerEX version 5.2 delivers the latest OPC UA technology uplifts security and interoperability to a new level that has not existed in the past. End result is more solutions to bring business interactions and operations to a new level.
 
“KEPServerEX enhancements are released on a quarterly schedule,” explained Tony Paine, President of Kepware Technologies. “Each release is packed with major new technology and value for our customers. We are not just a driver company any more. Our goal is Interoperability – through Standards and with popular native interfaces.”
 
An “off the shelf” KEPServerEX version 5.2 provides organizations a cost effective tunneling solution with the combination of OPC UA Client, OPC UA Server and KEPServerEX interfaces. Tunneling solutions are a replacement for Microsoft DCOM communications in distributed OPC DA applications.   
 
The enhanced features are changing communication between Business to Business (B2B) interactions.   Typically B2B has been handled on a non-real-time transactional basis with Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) or with custom developments when real-time connectivity was required. As the automation industry develops better standards and products, security with data encryption and authentication provides opportunity, via the OPC UA technology, for real-time data sharing in Automation B2B applications. 
 
 
A new Alarm and Event Condition option monitors variables and configure conditions that trigger messaging. Other enhancements worth mentioning are the additional CID (Custom Interface Driver – OPC Toolkit) sample code in C#, an updated Allen Bradley ControlLogix Driver – now supports 1024 Programs and multi-byte Strings, Mettler Toledo – scale controls, IDEC Driver – expanded ranges for MicroSmart and Open models, and Modbus Ethernet – Global settings changes at runtime. 
 
Further information is available at www.kepware.com
Website KEPServerEX version 5.2 downloads will be available on February 11th.
 
‘Connected with Kepware’ is an active partner program with two new partner programs - the Vendor Managed Protocol (VMP) program and the Vendor Endorsed Protocol (VEP) program.   Resellers, OEMs, System Integrators, and hardware providers are found on Kepware’s list. The latest relationship announced is APC selecting Kepware Technologies to deliver Data Center device communications for InfraStruxure ® Central management software 
                       
APC’s InfraStruxure ® Management Software portfolio provides data center managers and IT executives the ability to take a holistic view of data center physical infrastructure service quality, end-to-end energy use, facilitate short- and long-term planning, and properly forecast costs. The vendor-neutral software provides the industry’s first and broadest integrations with critical IT support systems, including Schneider Electric’s PowerLogic ION-Enterprise power management, building management and enterprise management, enabling the monitoring, controlling and resolving of issues in a user-friendly environment. 
 
As part of the solution, APC will use Kepware’s “IT and Infrastructure Suite”  with its InfraStruxure Central platform to deliver the latest OPC interoperability standards, including OPC DA, OPC AE and OPC-UA, ensuring interoperability with as many client applications as possible. This capability expands the ability to manage all devices supporting the data center. The OPC offering will maintain an OPC Foundation “Certified” status.
 
InfraStruxure Central provides an efficient way for organizations to monitor their company-wide multi-vendor data center physical infrastructure including power, cooling, security, and environment. Real-time monitoring, user-defined reports and graphs, and instant fault notification and escalation enable quick assessment and resolution of critical events that can adversely affect IT system availability. This centralized repository of information can be accessed by multiple users from anywhere on the network, creating a consolidated view of the physical infrastructure. The open and flexible architecture expands with changing business needs through additional device licenses, add-on surveillance, and operations modules, and through integration with enterprise, power and building management systems.
 
“Kepware has been enabling automation infrastructure monitoring for over two years now, both in data center environments and out on the plant floor,” states Roy Kok, VP of Marketing and Sales of Kepware Technologies. “This partnership enables APC to deliver the industry’s leading solutions to their customers, proven with their own products for example - PowerLogic ION Enterprise Energy Management (EEM), enabling the monitoring and management of all the products that can be found in today’s leading data centers.”
 
“By connecting with Kepware, APC brings customers an end-to-end view of all critical infrastructure in the data center from rack to row to room to building,” says Dave Guidette, senior vice president, Enterprise System and Service, APC. “Kepware pioneered and has significantly improved Industrial SNMP technology. Their adherence to industry standards for interoperability ensures our products will connect to our own software as well as third party solutions that may already be in place.”
 
“I am completely confident that he will successfully lead Kepware to consolidate our position as an important supplier and partner to manufacturing software and hardware automation companies.”
 
Kepware’s responsiveness to customer needs and strong partnerships with other leading automation suppliers ensures a productive future that successfully increases automation within organizations in both OPC and embedded device communications. Since 1995, Kepware has focused on the development of communication drivers to automation controllers, I/O and field devices, OEM Licensable communications and Licensable OPC Interoperability solutions. Applications include M2M (Machine to Machine) and M2E (Machine to Enterprise) communications. Operating system support includes; Microsoft Windows Desktop, Windows Server and Windows Embedded (Windows CE and Windows Embedded NT/XP). Today, with over 140 communication protocols, and through the efforts of our direct sales, distribution and embedded partners, Kepware is the leading provider of communications with annual shipments exceeding 100,000 units. 
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