During the ODVA 21st term, the organization grew membership to more than 365, and 13 active working groups released 80 specification enhancements in key areas such as CIP security, Ethernet-APL and in-cabinet and resource-constrained devices. The 2022 meeting of ODVA, held in March in San Diego, focused on the latest specification developments from its working groups, a highlight of the group’s new marketing activities, officer elections by the membership and accomplishments during the latest session.
Al Beydoun, president and executive director of ODVA, started the annual meeting with a recognition that it was the first in-person meeting for many members. He acknowledged the added difficulties of planning a meeting this year but concluded: “My impression is that people are enjoying being back together, connecting these two days.” The applause from the group was in clear agreement.
Also read: ODVA acknowledges expansion
Beydoun announced the current board of directors, and the members of the Technical Review Board (TRB) and the Market Advisory Committee (MAC). During the past term, the ODVA board of directors established MAC to provide additional member input on the overall direction of the industry. “The mission is to assess the state of future ODVA technologies and to help provide recommendations to the board,” Beydoun said.
During the pandemic, ODVA also launched successful virtual training sessions, as it pushes to grow adoption of ODVA technologies. ODVA maintained a strong global presence through its participation in events and trade shows, in-person and virtual, over the past term. “We continue to focus on the growth in China, and we have ongoing efforts to translate our standards into Chinese GB/T,” Beydoun said.
Other accomplishments for the latest term include developing support for EtherNet/IP over TSN. “We are participating in the TSN industrial profile. We are collaborating as we speak with other organizations who are coming together to fund the development of common components, once the specifications for TSN are ready and available,” Beydoun said. “You’ll hear some announcements on that very soon.”
ODVA also recertified CIP Safety Volume 5, edition 2.22, for compliance with IEC 61784-3, edition 4, and continues to work on device integration and support for EtherNet/IP. “We’re continuing to expand EtherNet/IP ecosystem to meet the Industry 4.0 and industrial IoT. One important area to mention here is the work being done within ODVA and a joint working group with the OPC Foundation to develop an OPC UA companion specification,” Beydoun said. The organization is also working on the ODVA xDS, the next generation of digital device descriptions.
Membership Update: expanded training and education
Adrienne Meyer, vice president of operations and membership for ODVA, gave an update on membership, the organization’s Territory Alliance Groups and global outreach, and new initiatives. During the pandemic, ODVA has remained active virtually in trade shows, such as Hannover Messe Digital 2020 and 2021, SPS Connect 2020 and ACHEMA Pulse 2021. ODVA was also active throughout the pandemic with its groups in China, Japan and Korea, attending a number of virtual and some in-person events.
“We have done a variety of different press conferences and training sessions,” Meyer said, “in order to continue to drive out the message of EtherNet/IP.” Education and training for members and vendors also expanded. ODVA offers “quick start” training sessions for a brief introduction to developing a product. Those were previously one-day courses in Ann Arbor, Michigan, or other locations but are now available virtually and stretched out over the course of a week, “so people can attend for a few hours each day and get the information they need.”
The TRB and special interest group (SIG) teams also provided a technology update for the membership. “That was something that was driven from our member survey,” Meyer said. “Members want to know what is happening with the technology, so they could stay informed and get involved.” Members also now receive the ODVA ToolBox for EtherNet/IP integrated learning environment included in their membership. In addition to expanding vendor education, test policy issues and solutions are under review to ensure clear, consistent and equitable applications of tests.
During the pandemic, ODVA was still able to grow membership by almost 4%, with more than 90 vendor IDs issued. “So EtherNet/IP adoption continues to be strong,” Meyer said. Membership remains about 40% based in the United States and 60% elsewhere.
ODVA hopes to release another member survey soon. “We’re going to continue to develop training and tools, including a focus on hands-on training and deep technology dives,” Meyer said. This will include expanding language access to the odva.org website, starting with Japanese.
Future plans for ODVA in the upcoming term include more expanded information and education for members, and integrating a new customer management system so members can more easily access membership information.
Technology update: revisions, new definitions and future specs
Joakim Wiberg, ODVA CTO and chair of TRB, gave a more in-depth technology review, which included two specification cycles in 2020 and three in 2021. A third was added last year to incorporate Ethernet-APL content. “We were able to be really agile and incorporate one extra publication,” Wiberg said. “I think this would be more important going forward, based on how we think the world will be moving forward.”
Twenty-seven volume revisions were published during the past two years, including some fixes and new additions, Wiberg said. Key accomplishments include work on constrained EtherNet/IP devices, including protocol definitions for EtherNet/IP and CIP Security. “By doing this, we can drive down the cost for end nodes, bringing EtherNet/IP all the way out to the edge and harvest data from the smaller devices,” Wiberg said. This will allow systems on the factory floor to make use of that data, but, to do that, the transport must go beyond EtherNet/IP. “The data transport needs to go beyond what we see on the factory floor,” Wiberg said. “We’ve formed a joint working group with OPC UA Foundation developing a companion specification for CIP to bring the data out.”
ODVA’s Project xDS has made progress and now requires analysis and proposals for key components. The final project will provide “a foundation where all devices are fully described in one single digital description,” Wiberg said.
Work also continues on time sensitive networking (TSN) specifications and how to move forward and implement TSN for EtherNet/IP, Wiberg said. “We know very well what to do bringing TSN into the ODVA specifications,” he added. Lastly, Wiberg pointed to the work done on conformance and interoperability between devices.
Future plans for technology development in the next term include continued investigation of IP, version 6 (IPv6); creating general purpose use of single-pair Ethernet (SPE); definitions for the physical layer of Gigabit Ethernet; and continued work on TSN to synchronize with the IEC industrial profile.