OPC UA is an open and royalty free set of standards designed as an interoperability framework. While there are numerous communication solutions available, OPC UA has key advantages:
- A state-of-the-art security model (see OPC 10000-2).
- Multiple fault-tolerant communication protocols.
- An information modelling framework that allows application developers to represent their data in an object-oriented way.
OPC UA has a broad scope which offers economies of scale for application developers. This means that a larger number of high-quality applications at a reasonable cost is available. When combined with semantic models such as Asset Administration Shell, OPC UA makes it easier for end users to access data via generic commercial applications.
The OPC UA model is scalable from small devices to ERP systems. OPC UA Servers process information locally and then provide that data in a consistent format to any application requesting data -- ERP, MES, PMS, Maintenance Systems, HMI, Smartphone or a standard Browser, for example. For a more complete overview see OPC 10000-1.