Open Productivity and Connectivity Specification

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What Does Open Productivity and Connectivity Specification Mean?

The Open Productivity and Connectivity (OPC) Specification is a set of standards developed by multiple leading automation industry suppliers in 1996 to link process control hardware and Windows software applications. The OPC Foundation oversees the development of OPC Specification standards.


The OPC Specification is now known as the Data Access Specification, OPC Data Access (OPC DA) or OPC Data Access Specification (OPC DA).

Techopedia Explains Open Productivity and Connectivity Specification

The OPC Specification defines a standard set of objects, interfaces and methods for application automation. OPC Data Access – the most common OPC Specification implementation – is used by manufacturing facilities for the following purposes:

  • Read and write real-time data from various vendors
  • Enable interoperability of automated process and manufacturing applications
  • Define uniform methods of accessing manufacturing device field data

OPC Specification design is based on multiple technologies, such as Object Linking and Embedding (OLE), Component Object Model (COM) and Distributed Component Object Model (DCOM) developed by Microsoft for Microsoft operating systems (OS). Initially, COM/DCOM technologies provided a framework for OPC software applications.

The OPC Specification does not restrict server access to process control and automation devices. Because OPC Foundation membership is not a system integrator requirement, OPC servers are under continuous development by OPC Foundation members and non-members.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.