A free, technical conference held in Birmingham for UK-based OPC (Open Platform Communications) users and systems integrators looking to gain a deeper understanding of current OPC technologies, proved a resounding success with attendees.

Co-hosted by Industrial Data Communication and M2M specialist M.A.C. Solutions (UK) LIMITED and Kepware®, a PTC business developing industrial connectivity software, the first ever Kepware® OPC Discovery Day in the UK was a huge success, with most of the 50-plus attendees expressing a strong desire to attend the next event. The feedback from attendees was excellent in terms of both ‘expectations’ and ‘organisation’ and so the conference will become an annual event.

The goal of the conference, which took place on 28th June 2017 at the National Conference Centre in Birmingham, was to expand the horizons for OPC users and systems integrators by improving their knowledge and understanding of OPC technologies, as well as giving attendees an opportunity to view real-world demonstrations of cutting-edge applications for OPC and industrial data, including secure integration using web servers, IoT (Internet of Things) cloud interactions, and industrial solutions employing augmented reality. The majority of attendees were large, multinational end users of Kepware® software or systems integration companies that use OPC technologies on a regular basis with their applications.

The conference programme covered a variety of topics on the day, including a technical explanation of OPC technologies, past and present; a discussion about the role of OPC in securing industrial data within sites and across the Internet; an in-depth exploration of how industrial data can be integrated into corporate solutions using web-services, databases, Big Data analytics, IoT environments (Microsoft Azure, ThingWorx), and augmented reality software.

Dave Hammond, Product Manager Ethernet & Communications at M.A.C. Solutions commented: “The conference gave attendees a short cut to a better understanding of current OPC technologies and future trends in industrial data communications, to allow them to better plan future projects and developments. Feedback from attendees showed that the hot topics that they feel strongly about and that need to be addressed are data security [DCOM] and Big Data integration.”

One of the attendees, Jean Pierre Davies of Special Metal Wiggins Ltd commented: “There are not many events where I have come away and have written seven A4 pages of notes – the event was amazing. It is obvious that both MAC Solutions and Kepware are passionate about the product and that really came over [at the event] and this can only be great for people like us that you support.”

Other comments from attendees included: “All presenters were on top of their game – loved the tips and tricks,” and “This was a very well organised and useful event and I would certainly attend more of these seminars in the future.” 



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