Software Toolbox Technical Blog

Using OPC Router for Real-Time Process Updates to Microsoft Teams Chat

13 min read

By Kevin Rutherford on Dec 1, 2022 2:00:00 PM


It's pretty common these days for companies to use Microsoft Teams™ for internal communications within and between departments and maybe even between IT and OT segments in an organization. This has become more and more important with increasing remote office scenarios, enabling vital collaboration between key members of an organization.

But what if you could also have real-time updates from your process and other systems in the same fashion? Rather than a colleague messaging you about an urgent matter, what if your actual processes and even business systems could message you via Teams with actionable information (possibly a line is down, or a tank level is approaching maximum level)?

In this blog post, we'll cover the steps necessary to use OPC Router to integrate your variety of systems with Teams so that you can have real-time updates and make important decisions about your business more quickly.

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Did You Know Google IoT Core is Shutting Down? Start Preparing Now!

4 min read

By Zachary Parham on Oct 27, 2022 2:00:00 PM


If you have been following our blog for a while or have been exploring IoT platforms available in the market, you may know that the Google Cloud Platform combined with the Google IoT Core is a frequently used combination in the industry. Google has recently announced that it will be shutting down the Google IoT Core. In doing so, Google is forcing many of its Cloud Platform users to switch platforms.

In this blog post, we will review detailed information about the alternatives to the Google Cloud Platform that are available for use with all of the IoT capable products we provide, and how the change works.

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Video Tutorial - Email Reports / Alerts from OPC & Other Data Sources

2 min read

By John Gonzalez on Sep 29, 2022 2:00:00 PM

It's important for any enterprise to have actionable data in the timeliest fashion for making decisions. Minimizing downtime and increasing performance are important to the profitability of any company and knowledge at the point of action is key.

To that end, automating notifications or reports based on the latest process data from your various systems can ensure you're never in the dark when it comes to your processes.

In this post, I will cover step-by-step how to easily automate email notifications and reports for OPC and data sources with the OPC Router for giving you and other decision makers the knowledge you need to make informed decision as quickly as possible.

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Enabling Rapid Interoperability Between OPC UA & MQTT Sparkplug B

5 min read

By Kevin Rutherford on Jul 21, 2022 2:00:00 PM


Ongoing digital transformation and operational visibility initiatives continue to demand the integration of different systems using different technologies. With increased adoption of secure OPC UA and MQTT Sparkplug B, it’s only to be expected that users will have systems that support one or the other technology but need to communicate with each other.

Although OPC UA supports a publish-subscribe mechanism with OPC UA PubSub, and adoption of OPC UA is strong and growing, the reality is there will be situations where the user is already using MQTT Sparkplug B and needs to integrate it with OPC UA or vice-versa, without writing custom code or going through complex configuration.

Software Toolbox was founded 26 years ago on the principal of making data and device integration easy by using configurable off-the-shelf software to avoiding writing custom solutions and knowing the pros and cons of and ins and outs of many technologies. That mission remains strong, as you’ll see, as we discuss interoperating between OPC UA and MQTT in this blog post.

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Understanding OPC UA Certificates and Certificate Authorities

5 min read

By Zachary Parham on Jul 14, 2022 2:00:00 PM


If you use OPC UA, you are likely at least somewhat familiar with OPC UA certificates. OPC UA client and server applications typically have Application Instance Certificates to provide application-level security. They are used for establishing a secure connection using Asymmetric Cryptography.

OPC UA certificates include a digital signature by the generator of the certificate. This digital signature can be self-signed or can be signed by a Certificate Authority (CA). Both types of certificates provide the same level of security and can be used in Asymmetric Cryptography. The major difference between CA signed and self-signed certificates in an OPC UA installation is the effort required to deploy and maintain the certificates. The choice of when to use a CA issued certificate versus a self-signed certificate depends on the installation and site requirements.

Many of our products leverage the OPC UA Configuration tool from the OPC Foundation to create and trust certificates and certificate authorities (CA). This tool actually installs with our OPC Data Client toolkit but is also available from the OPC Foundation. But how do we navigate this tool and the use of OPC UA certificates as a whole?

In this blog post, we will cover both methods of UA certificate signing, as well as the tool mentioned above for easily managing UA certificates for your OPC UA applications.

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How to Easily Integrate Your OPC Router Data with Google Cloud IoT

10 min read

By Zachary Parham on Apr 14, 2022 2:00:00 PM


The Google Cloud Platform (GCP) is Google’s cloud solution that brings all of Google’s cloud computing services together. Google’s own services, such as Google Search and YouTube, run on the GCP, but end users can also use their cloud services.

Google Cloud Platform, for the Internet of Things (IoT) area, offers their “Cloud IoT Core” services, which provide the functionalities to connect large quantities of devices via an integrated MQTT broker. In this blog post, we will show the necessary steps for connecting this Cloud IoT Core to the different data interfaces supported by OPC Router.

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Tech Support Corner: Running / Maintaining Cogent DataHub as a Service

10 min read

By Nicole Knox on Apr 7, 2022 2:00:00 PM


Great job! You managed to configure Cogent DataHub® to fit your needs, and now you are ready to run it in a production environment, but you are left with one question – “How in the world do I run DataHub as a service?”.

Running applications as Windows services has multiple benefits but, perhaps, the most beneficial reason to run an application as a service is the ability to let the application/process run in the background without the need for a user to be logged on the operating system. For that reason, this might be why you are looking at how to run it as a service, whether you are tunneling, logging, aggregating, historizing data, and/or using Datahub as a Gateway.

Continuing our Tech Support Corner blog series, if you find yourself in this situation like other users over years, do not worry. This post will walk you through the process of running DataHub as a service as well as how to access its properties from a local and/or remote machine.

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OPC Data Client 2022.1 .NET 6, Win1021H2 Support, New Examples & More

6 min read

By Ganesh Kalipershad on Mar 31, 2022 2:00:00 PM


Following on the recent OPC Data Client 2021.3 release a few months ago, the OPC Data Client toolkit has been updated again to give developers more options, help them deal with Microsoft technology changes, and add new functionality to their applications. We will cover the highlights here in this technically deep blog post.

Be sure to read about the DCOM hardening that Microsoft is performing and options to be ready, to get ahead of potential support calls from your users.

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