The Eclipse Foundation Announces Sparkplug as an International Standard for a “Plug and Play” Industrial IoT

Tuesday, November 7, 2023 - 05:45 by Jacob Harris

BRUSSELS – November 7, 2023 – The Eclipse Foundation, one of the world’s largest open source software foundations, in collaboration with the Eclipse Sparkplug Working Group, today announced that the Sparkplug® 3.0 specification has been published as an International Standard. This publication is the outcome of a transposition of the specification through the Publicly Available Specification (PAS) transposition process offered by the ISO and IEC Joint Technical Committee (JTC 1) for information technology, a consensus-based, voluntary international standards group. 

The International Organization for Standardization and International Electrotechnical Commission (ISO/IEC) are global organisations that facilitate the development of International Standards that support innovation, sustainability, and global trade. Sparkplug® is an open software specification that enables mission-critical operational technology (OT) clients to use industry standards, including OASIS MQTT, to seamlessly integrate data from their applications, sensors, devices, and gateways with most Industrial Internet Of Things (IIoT) infrastructure. As a result, Sparkplug® enables businesses to easily deploy complex, mission-critical IIoT systems in record time.

“The publication of Sparkplug® 3.0 as an international standard is significant, not just for the Sparkplug community, but for any organisation that needs to digitally transform their business by leveraging IIoT technologies,” said Mike Milinkovich, executive director for the Eclipse Foundation. “Sparkplug has been experiencing meteoric growth over the past few years, primarily driven by the ongoing transition to true IIoT infrastructure across multiple industries. It provides the key to true, easy integration across the many disparate technologies that make up this complex OT/IT ecosystem. Sparkplug’s new status as an international standard will accelerate this adoption while simultaneously serving as recognition of its immense value to the industry.” 

The PAS transposition process for reviewing and approving externally developed specifications at JTC 1 is neutral to all contributors and includes industry-wide participation. Going forward, the Sparkplug® specification will also be known as ISO/IEC 20237. The Eclipse Foundation retains stewardship of the specification and intends to submit future revisions through the PAS transposition process. 

“JTC 1 appreciates the opportunity to work with The Eclipse Foundation on this project, and we congratulate the Foundation on the approval of ISO/IEC 20237,” said Phil Wennblom, JTC 1 Chair. “JTC 1 looks forward to our future collaboration.”

ISO/IEC International Standards are the global benchmarks for businesses, manufacturers, vendors, and service providers regarding approved and validated safety features, quality measures, and interoperability. By becoming an ISO/IEC standard, a technology is effectively established as a globally recognized technical ecosystem and benefits from global acceptance of products, accelerated adoption, and expanded reach. 

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 OASIS MQTT is used across a broad 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 optimised for industrial process variables. 
  • Sparkplug® defines MQTT Session State management required by real-time OT SCADA systems.

About the Eclipse Foundation

The Eclipse Foundation provides our global community of individuals and organisations with a business-friendly environment for open source software collaboration and innovation. We host the Eclipse IDE, Adoptium, Software Defined Vehicle, Jakarta EE, and over 425 open source projects, including runtimes, tools, specifications, and frameworks for cloud and edge applications, IoT, AI, automotive, systems engineering, open processor designs, and many others. Headquartered in Brussels, Belgium, the Eclipse Foundation is an international non-profit association supported by over 350 members. To learn more, follow us on social media @EclipseFdn, LinkedIn, or visit

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