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Eclipse Sparkplug Working Group Continues to Drive Adoption of IIot Specs

The Eclipse Foundation's effort to provide a standard for device communications in the evolving Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) space continues to attract participants. This week the Foundation added a new name to the roster of its Sparkplug Working Group: Industrial automation and IIoT manufacturer Opto 22.

Sparkplug is an open-source software specification that provides IIoT solutions creators utilizing the OASIS Message Queuing Telemetry Transport (MQTT) protocol with a framework for integrating data from their applications, sensors, devices, and gateways within the MQTT infrastructure.

The Eclipse Foundation, which has been the home for open-source implementations of the MQTT protocol since 2011, launched the Eclipse Sparkplug Working Group in 2020 "to broaden adoption of the Sparkplug topic and payload specification for MQTT."

“With the rapid adoption of Sparkplug within multiple markets critical to the Industrial IoT, we are in an excellent position to bring industry leaders together to drive standardization around this transformative technology,” said Mike Milinkovich, executive director of the Eclipse Foundation, in an earlier statement. “Sparkplug leverages the ubiquitous MQTT standard already in use throughout the industry to provide standardized communications between industrial devices. The Sparkplug working group will help drive new levels of interoperability across devices and vendors in industrial automation.”

Opto 22 develops and manufactures open-standards-based hardware and software products for industrial automation, process control, building automation, industrial refrigeration, remote monitoring, data acquisition, and IIoT applications. The company has a history of supporting the MQTT standard, starting in 2013 with the introduction of its groov product family. It added Sparkplug support in 2017 soon after the specification was released. Since then, Opto 22 has worked closely with other proponents of MQTT, including Inductive Automation and Cirrus Link, the original developers of Sparkplug, to establish MQTT as the dominant protocol for IIoT.

Both Inductive Automation and Cirrus Link are founding members of the Sparkplug Working Group, as are Chevron, Canary Labs, HiveMQ, and ORing. The Foundation's working groups were developed to provide a vendor-neutral governance structure that allows organizations to collaborate freely on new technology development.

"Opto 22’s participation in the Sparkplug Working Group gives us the opportunity to contribute directly to the development of Sparkplug and to work closely with other vendors that are committed to its success," said Benson Hougland, Opto 22's VP of product strategy, in a statement. "Given our strong belief in the use of open-source software for industrial applications, we are also thrilled to be working with an organization like the Eclipse Foundation on such an important project."

The Eclipse Foundation now manages Sparkplug under the Eclipse Tahu Project, which comprises the Sparkplug spec; a client library implementation of Java, JavaScript, Python, and C; and reference implementations of Sparkplug apps using the client libraries.

Those interested in participating in this project can email the Foundation ( [email protected]). Individuals can join the Sparkplug WG mailing list.

Posted by John K. Waters on April 29, 2021