This year proved to be different and exciting delivering a productive and pivotal outcome for FDT Group with renewed energy around the FDT standard, partnership opportunities, and the return to in-person tradeshows and meetings with end users, system and device vendors, along with our leadership, technical, and marketing teams.
For the first time since the release of FDT UE, version 3.0 (June of 2020), we were able to demonstrate that FDT (IEC 62453) is truly the only open device and lifecycle management standard that supports all industrial communication protocols/networks and device datatypes, providing a unified environment to configure, operate and monitor intelligent field devices with IT/OT data-driven operations in process, hybrid and discrete applications.
Some standards focus only on ‘their networks’ and ‘their datatypes’ in ‘their single application’. FDT has a user-driven focus – to empower the intelligent enterprise through open, scalable, and adaptable engineering applications with all intelligent device solutions. FDT opens the architecture to integrate any protocol and device datatype supporting data consistency and transparency initiatives field to cloud. Moreover, FDT offers system and device vendors value-add to differentiate their products to remain competitive without visualization limitations.
Our partnership opportunity within the OPC Foundation booth at Hannover, ACHEMA, and SPS provided excellent industry visibility to modern webUI-based DTMs and the FDT Server (also an OPC UA server and Web server) hosting environment transporting OT data consistency to IT applications enabling service-oriented device management, maintenance, and data analytic business models. Part of the innovation is the DTM (Device Type Manager). This flexible enabling part of the standard empowers protocol tunneling using Communication DTMs, and Interpreter DTMs supporting all datatypes giving users the freedom to choose the right devices for their applications. Device manufacturers can provide their data model of choice for their devices, and because the FDT standard is ‘open’, users aren’t locked in. No matter the device datatype (EDS, IODD, GSD, DD, EDD, FDI Package, and of course native DTM’s), users still benefit from a unified environment to configure, operate, and maintain all connected devices.
Vendors can jump-start development for FDT-based engineering applications and intelligent device DTM solutions based on open specifications and common component tool sets (that auto-enable OPC UA) – they are a reality today. End users looking to deploy FDT-based architectures to support their installed base while scaling their IIoT application can ask their vendors to support FDT UE in their specification requirements during the bidding process.
This pivotal year has brought a new level of industry excitement to the open, interoperability standard simplifying the IIoT migration path for vendors and end users alike. As a result, many FDT UE products and use cases are coming to light and we look forward to announcing some of them soon.
Steve Biegacki, FDT Group Managing Director