ODVA starts development on its next generation device description platform

Apr 28, 2017

ODVA announced that it has begun technical activity to develop standards and tools for its next generation of digitized descriptions for device data, naming the endeavor "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. ODVA’s Common Industrial Protocol (CIP) provides a context-based repository for device data. Together, ODVA says these technologies create the foundation for the definition of a holistic description file that provides the digitized representation of a device. The project 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.

Project xDS also aims 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.

The project's first 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. The next phase 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.