By Ron Breault
Last week I traveled to Houston to participate in the latest face-to-face meeting of the Open Process Automation Forum (OPAF). OPAF is a relatively new organization, formed under the auspices of The Open Group and driven by the vision of a “standards-based, open, secure, and interoperable process control architecture.” When I say “driven,” I’m not kidding; compared to some standards bodies I’ve previously worked with, OPAF is practically on fire!
For the record, just getting to the meeting in Houston from my office in Ottawa proved to be more of a challenge than I expected: mother nature conspired to throw all kinds of severe weather and air travel impediments my way. I’m glad I persevered though, there’s so much good work going on across the forum that each face-to-face meeting is invaluable for anyone actively involved or looking to engage.
The leadership of OPAF, comprised of highly experienced individuals from the Industrial Process Control user communities and supplier communities, have set an aggressive milestone and publication schedule for the forum. I won’t quote specific dates due to the dynamic nature of project plans, but several important deliverables are expected later this year, with two having already been released (User Requirements and the Technical Reference Model for the Architecture – both documents available from The Open Group website). This kind of progress is only possible through the hard work and enthusiastic contributions of many OPAF members.
The OPAF forum is broken down into a small set of Working Group and Subcommittees, with individuals participating according to their skills and sponsoring companies’ products and services. Due to scope of the effort, there is opportunity for almost everyone to contribute and help move the yardsticks forward.
To give you a sense of the breadth of work currently underway in OPAF, here’s a short list of the topics discussed just last week:
- End User Requirements,
- Compliance & Conformance Policy,
- Physical Platform,
- System Management,
- Information Modeling,
- Future Plugfests.
Clearly the OPAF community has not taken the summer off!
Working as part of a very experienced group of industrial process control engineers and specialists is both rewarding and career enhancing. I’m pleased to represent Wind River in this forum, and to have the chance to contribute to this influential industry initiative.