GE (NYSE: GE) announced that it is the first to implement and release a new Global Discovery Server based on the new Part 12 of the OPC UA standards. This specification enables the Industrial Internet with improved ease of connectivity across devices and equipment. The Proficy Global Discover Server (GDS) automatically discovers OPC UA devices on the network and connects to them with no configuration, saving time and reducing costs.
GE has standardized on OPC UA as an interoperability standard across several GE businesses. By standardizing on OPC UA and launching the Global Discovery Server, the company is further enabling the Industrial Internet with improved ease of connectivity across devices and equipment, secure-by-design methodologies, and significantly richer context for data, providing a foundation for cloud-based systems and asset performance management.
“Companies today need connectivity, secure-by-design, data in context to enable the Industrial Internet,” said Jim Walsh, President and General Manager of GE Intelligent Platforms Software. “We have been working closely with the OPC Foundation to help design this specification, and now our customers will reap the benefits of connected systems and the ability to manage asset performance.”
The Global Discovery Server automates the previously manual and complex processes associated with connectivity and certificate management – saving a significant amount of time and money. The technology supports both the push and pull of certificates.
GE has also released a new version of the company’s CIMPLICITY HMI/SCADA product, the fastest SCADA on the market made specifically for complex operations. CIMPLICITY is now an OPC UA Client and future releases will deliver more OPC UA client and server capability. As an OPC UA-enabled HMI/SCADA, CIMPLICITY can aggregate data from other OPC UA devices, add context to that data for analysis, and even provide that contextual data to other OPC UA servers at other system layers within an enterprise. Security is improved through the use of secure-by-design OPC UA. Reliability is higher, as OPC UA is designed to work on lower bandwidth connections and devices like radio modems.
OPC-UA provides a standard for GE devices and equipment, and the company now has multiple OPC-UA enabled devices: the PACSystems RX3i and RXi and MarkVIe are OPC UA-enabled controllers. Other GE products adopting the standard include: ADAPT3701, GE Oil & Gas’ System 1 condition monitoring software, 8 Series for primary or backup protection for underground and overhead medium voltage feeders, and 3 Series multifunctional feeder relays.
“Companies around the world are working with multiple OS platforms across their organizations,” Walsh continued. “By standardizing on OPC UA, GE is alleviating the issues involved with multiple platforms, including Windows, iOS, and Android.”
“With hundreds of thousands of nodes needing to migrate from OPC DA to OPC UA, users are looking for tools to leverage its enterprise connectivity and security in as close to a plug and play fashion as possible,” according to Craig Resnick, Vice President, ARC Advisory Group. “It appears that GE Intelligent Platforms Software has created a solution that accomplishes these objectives and should rapidly accelerate the movement towards OPC UA.”
In addition to multiple OS platforms, companies have a multitude of legacy systems and equipment in place. GE’s OPC UA-enabled software can aggregate the data from these legacy systems and equipment and eliminate these islands of information. Even for devices that are unaware of OPC UA, the GE server can still manage certificates and trust lists for those devices, using Proficy Agent which acts on their behalf.
Concluded Walsh, “With the GDS and GE standardization on OPC UA, our customers have greater interoperability, flexibility and scalability and are now able to more easily add systems both horizontally and feed data in context vertically.”
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