FDT Group’s IEC 62543 field-to-cloud integration standard has a well-established, global installed base in the user community. Companies recognize the business benefits and specify FDT-enabled devices (DTMs) and systems (hosts) to provide a single, consistent and easy-to-use method for the design, configuration, and management of any device, across any hierarchy of networks. The embedded nature of FDT allows users the freedom to choose devices that best fit their control applications. The industry takes for granted the true openness FDT enables, as there are millions of FDT 1.2/2.x device DTM’s in field operation today.
Although FDT Group has existed for 20-plus years, we find the organization at a transition point that matches the industry’s transformation to end-to-end data-rich device intelligence and communication enabling IIoT applications.
In 2020, FDT Group launched the FDT 3.0 specification and developer tools simplifying migration to service-oriented device management solutions that take full advantage of FDT’s foundational features at the request of the end-user community. With complete interoperability and device management that is now standardized based on NAMUR (NE107), the FDT 3.0 standard enables a direct connection to the IT world with OPC UA integration/information modeling making data sharing seamless.
With a great deal of collaborative support from other standards organizations and subject-matter experts that poured manhours into creating FDT 3.0, the FDT Group now offers the only standardized integration and data management solution making IT/OT convergence a reality out of the box. This is possible because of the main components of the spec; an enhanced device DTM which now includes a WebUI with separate business logic, an FDT Server creating an IIoT data hub with distributed control, and the FDThub providing a single point of access to all certified DTMs – no more searching through websites for device drivers. The new standard creates a unified environment offering a modernized approach to device integration, management, and monitoring of control system devices.
Although FDT 3.0 focuses on extending data interoperability and access, the platform inherently supports its base of FDT 1.2 and 2.0 DTM’s. The hosting upgrade allows a simplified migration path for customers when they have the business need to take advantage of the new benefits that FDT 3.0 device DTM’s can provide.
Users currently using an FDT-enabled desktop hosting environment can migrate to an FDT Server environment providing a seamless connection to their IT business unit with the inclusion of a native and pre-wired OPC UA server. This allows any authenticated ERP, MES, or higher-level system application access to the FDT 3.0 server IIoT data hub. This opens a new world of device data connectivity to the entire enterprise with a tight connection to the IT infrastructure.
Although the FDT 3.0 spec is new and provides continued support for the current installed base of DTM’s, the connection with OPC UA is a breakthrough for the industry. System vendors ready to answer the demands from end users can immediately embed the FDT Server in their asset management offerings allowing controllers and IT systems access to critical control device data – for configuration, control, and collection of data to be used in applications as asset management systems.
Many organizations are trying to create what FDT 3.0 can enable today – a seamless connection to devices for the reasons mentioned above. FDT 3.0 provides the Unified Environment you are familiar with, and it’s here today. If you need IT/OT integration today, ask your vendors for FDT (3.0) UE!
Steve Biegacki, FDT Group Managing Director