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Object Linking and Embedding (OLE) for process control (OPC) is a set of standards developed by a joint collaboration of leading automation industry suppliers. OPC's primary mission is to define a uniform interface for use with any organization or custom software package.
Shortly after OPC's release in 1996, the OPC Foundation was created to maintain OPC standards. The first OPC standard was the OPC Specification, which is now known as the OPC Data Access Specification or OPC Data Access.
The first OPC standard was based on technologies such as OLE, Component Object Model (COM) and Microsoft's Distributed Component Object Model (DCOM). The OPC Specification included objects, interfaces and methods used by manufacturers for process control and automation application interoperability and real-time data management.