BRUSSELS, Belgium, Dec. 08, 2022 – The Eclipse Foundation, one of the world’s largest open source software foundations, in collaboration with the Eclipse Sparkplug Working Group, today announced the release of the Sparkplug 3.0 specification. Sparkplug is an open software specification that enables mission-critical operational technology (“OT”) clients to use industry standards, including MQTT, to seamlessly integrate data from their applications, sensors, devices, and gateways with most Industrial Internet Of Things (IIoT) Infrastructure. The Sparkplug 3.0 specification represents the first version of the specification managed under the Eclipse Foundation specification process. It also represents the proper formalization of the specification over the v2.2 release.
The goals for Sparkplug 3.0 are to leverage the Eclipse Foundation’s open and vendor-neutral specification process to clarify ambiguities in the v2.2 version and add explicit normative statements while maintaining backward compatibility. In addition, the Sparkplug specification has begun the process of transposition as an international standard at ISO/IEC, an independent, non-governmental international organization with a membership of 167 national standards bodies. To support this standardization effort, the Eclipse Foundation has obtained the status of Publicly Available Specification (PAS) submitter from ISO/IEC’s Joint Technology Committee (JTC) 1. The PAS process is a fast-track process enabling a specification to be approved as an ISO/IEC standard in less than a year, as opposed to a full-length process that can take up to four years. Already growing quickly, Sparkplug’s transition to approved industry standard specification should further speed its growth and acceptance throughout multiple industries.
“Today’s release of Sparkplug 3.0 represents a major milestone,” said Mike Milinkovich, executive director for the Eclipse Foundation. “This march to Sparkplug’s transformation into an official industry standard has come from significant industry-wide collaboration that continues under the auspices of the Sparkplug Working Group. We look forward to continuing to foster new partnerships to advance the adoption of MQTT and Sparkplug in the industry.”
The Sparkplug Working Group is simultaneously launching a product compatibility program for Sparkplug implementers. The program will ensure that Sparkplug-compatible products and implementations demonstrate a high degree of compatibility and interoperability.
About Sparkplug & MQTT
Sparkplug provides an open and freely available specification for how Edge of Network (EoN) gateways or native MQTT-enabled end devices and MQTT Applications communicate bi-directionally within an MQTT Infrastructure. It is recognized that MQTT is used across a wide spectrum of application solution use cases and an almost indefinable variation of network topologies.
By design, the MQTT specification does not dictate a Topic Namespace or any payload encoding. However, as the IIoT and other architectures leveraging the publisher/subscriber model are adopted by device OEMs in the industrial sector, having different Topic Namespace and payload encoding can inhibit interoperability for the end customer. To that end, the Sparkplug specification addresses the following components within an MQTT infrastructure:
- Sparkplug defines an OT-centric Topic Namespace
- Sparkplug defines an OT-centric Payload definition optimized for industrial process variables.
- Sparkplug defines MQTT Session State management required by real-time OT SCADA systems.
Quotes from Participating Organizations
Cirrus Link solutions:
"Cirrus Link originally created Sparkplug to help industrial clients seamlessly integrate data between their sensors, devices, or gateways and applications within an MQTT infrastructure. With the activities in the Eclipse Sparkplug Working Group, it is now growing rapidly as the standard for interoperability in IIoT, and these new developments make it even easier for customers to implement MQTT Sparkplug and find software and devices that are Sparkplug Compatible.”
Arlen Nipper, President and CTO, Cirrus Link, and co-inventor of MQTT
Inductive Automation: “The Sparkplug specification is an integral part of digital transformation and is the missing link that bridges OT and IT. Sparkplug makes it possible to achieve a unified namespace with seamless integration between different systems. We can’t wait to see the amazing innovations that result from this standard being adopted internationally. We are excited to continue growing awareness and contributing to the specification through the Sparkplug Working Group.”
Travis Cox, Chief Technology Evangelist
Opto 22: ”Two primary considerations in operational technology (OT) systems are interoperability and standardization. More recently, cybersecurity at the OT level is also a high priority. MQTT with Sparkplug addresses each of these considerations fluently. Opto 22 participates in the Sparkplug Working Group to help drive the adoption of this standard-based, problem-solving approach to data democratization. And by embedding MQTT and Sparkplug directly into our edge hardware platforms, we help OT practitioners unleash new capabilities at lower costs and better performance than ever before. “
Benson Hougland - VP of Product Strategy
HiveMQ: “We are proud to be part of the Sparkplug Working Group and the HiveMQ broker is one of the first products validated as fully Sparkplug compliant and aware through the new Sparkplug Compatible program. Sparkplug provides OT data with context so it can be seamlessly integrated with enterprise systems in a bi-directional way, and the latest Sparkplug updates will advance adoption of these standards across the globe for more successful, interoperable IIoT deployments that enable digital transformation."
Dominik Obermaier, HiveMQ Co-founder and CTO
Canary: “The progress of the Sparkplug specification towards adoption as an international standard is an exciting development. The seamless integration of data and easy connectivity are welcome changes to the complex digital landscape. We are excited to continue to contribute to the formation of this standard through the Sparkplug Working Group.”
Ken Wyant, Director of Business Solutions
SignalFire: “SignalFire chose to implement Sparkplug in our IIoT devices and become an active member of the Eclipse Sparkplug Working group as we see a great benefit a standard topic namespace and encoding for MQTT which allows for plug and play operation. Sparkplug’s efficient data transmission is also important to optimize battery life and data usage for constrained devices. We have seen tremendous growth in the adoption of Sparkplug in the past three years, and the ability to seamlessly integrate remote sensor data has been a game changer.”
Josh Schadel, CTO
About the Eclipse Foundation
The Eclipse Foundation provides our global community of individuals and organizations with a mature, scalable, and business-friendly environment for open source software collaboration and innovation. The Foundation is home to the Eclipse IDE, Jakarta EE, and over 400 open source projects, including runtimes, tools, and frameworks for cloud and edge applications, IoT, AI, automotive, systems engineering, distributed ledger technologies, open processor designs, and many others. The Eclipse Foundation is an international non-profit association supported by over 330 members, including industry leaders who value open source as a key enabler for their business strategies. To learn more, follow us on Twitter @EclipseFdn, LinkedIn or visit eclipse.org.
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