Results aim to standardize workflow-driven device descriptions and simplify the production and consumption of device data for device integration and the Industrial Internet of Things

Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA — April 24, 2017 — ODVA has announced that it has embarked on a major new technical activity to develop standards and tools for its next generation of digitized descriptions for device data. ODVA has named the activity “Project xDS™.” The project will focus on the development of specifications for workflow-driven device description files for device integration and digitized business models.

Starting with EtherNet/IP™, ODVA’s industrial Ethernet network, and EtherNet/IP’s core foundation in standard Ethernet and Internet technologies, ODVA has pursued a vision of simplifying the movement of device data from the plant floor to the enterprise. Furthermore, ODVA’s Common Industrial Protocol, commonly known as “CIP™” and used by EtherNet/IP and ODVA’s other industrial network technologies, provides a rich, context-based repository for device data. Together, these technologies – EtherNet/IP and CIP – give the foundation for the definition of a holistic description file that provides the digitized representation of a device. Project xDS will define the technologies and standards for “xDS” device description files that are based on a common format and syntax to enable workflow-driven device integration. Typical workflows include network and security configuration, network and security diagnostics, device configuration, and device diagnostics.

Another aspect of Project xDS is to further the realization of applications for a digitized industrial world. Digitization will require the virtual representation of physical devices as digital twins, and xDS device description files will be able to provide the device data needed for this virtual representation. The result will help enable services for configuration, command, monitoring, diagnostics, prognostics and simulation via asset management systems, cloud based analytics, and new command-control architectures for industrial control systems.

“Today’s device description methods are a fragmented blend of separate files, typically with different syntaxes and formats. This situation creates headaches for everybody from users trying to integrate their devices to vendors who need to support multiple device description methods,” stated Katherine Voss, ODVA’s president and executive director. “Project xDS aims to reduce these difficulties by providing a standard device description format and syntax that is common across workflows. In addition, Project xDS will enable fully digitized business models by ensuring the secure transport of device data across multiple communication domains and simplifying the production and consumption of such data.”

Phase One of Project xDS is already underway. This phase, which is being carried out by an Ad Hoc Committee under the direction of ODVA’s Board of Directors, consists of defining the overall roadmap for the project, including the approach to mapping native device data to device integration workflows, the reference architecture for the use of xDS-based device integration files, and the syntax and format to be used by xDS device description files. Phase Two of the project will be led by an ODVA Special Interest Group under the direction of ODVA’s Technical Review Board, and will focus on the writing and publishing of The xDS Specification. ODVA expects Phase Two of the Project to commence in 2018. Ultimately overall deliverables for the project will also include tools to simplify development of xDS device description files and their consumption by device integration tools, as well as conformance tests for xDS files.

About ODVA

Founded in 1995, ODVA is an international standards development and trade organization whose members comprise the world’s leading automation companies. ODVA’s mission is to advance open, interoperable information and communication technologies in industrial automation. ODVA recognizes its media independent network protocol, the Common Industrial Protocol or “CIP” – and the network adaptations of CIP – EtherNet/IP, DeviceNet, CompoNet and ControlNet – as its core technology and the primary common interest of its membership. ODVA’s vision is to contribute to the sustainability and prosperity of the global community by transforming the model for information and communication technology in the industrial ecosystem. For future interoperability of production systems and the integration of the production systems with other systems, ODVA embraces the adoption of commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) and standard, unmodified Internet and Ethernet technologies as a guiding principle wherever possible. This principle is exemplified by EtherNet/IP – the world’s number one industrial Ethernet network.

For more information, contact:

John Jackson

Adrienne Meyer
+1 734.975.8840

CIP, EtherNet/IP and xDS are trademarks of ODVA, Inc.