The major advantage over other, usually proprietary, protocols is that the communication interface not only provides data, but also makes it self-explanatory. This is because the OPC server not only sends the value of the data, but also an explanatory description. This allows data to be interpreted automatically. An example from data relevant to temperature control technology: In addition to the value of the current setpoint temperature ("-20") including a brief description ("Setpoint"), the unit ("°C") as well as the adjustable limit values ("-50, +300") and the data type (float) are transmitted via OPC UA interface.
Another major advantage is the integrated security mechanisms. These include authentication, authorization and encryption of the data. Among other things, this prevents the data from being intercepted or manipulated.
OPC UA communicates via the Ethernet interface and can communicate via an existing network or via a direct point-to-point connection.