The Eclipse Foundation Launches the Sparkplug Working Group to Bring Device Communications Standardization to the IIoT

By Chantal Polsonetti

Company and Product News

At the ARC Advisory Group’s 24th Annual Industry Forum, the Eclipse Foundation announced the launch of the Sparkplug Working Group, which is driving the evolution and broad adoption of the Eclipse Sparkplug Specification that enables the creation of open, interoperable, Industrial IoT (IIoT) solutions utilizing MQTT.  In particular, the Working Group will encourage the definition of technical specifications and associated implementations that rationalize access to industrial data, improve the interoperability and scalability of IIoT solutions, and provide an overall framework for supporting Industry 4.0 for oil and gas, energy, manufacturing, smart cities and other related industries.  Founding members include Chevron, Canary Labs, Cirrus Link Solutions, HiveMQ, Inductive Automation, and ORing.

The industry already relies on the open source specification known as MQTT, which is a standard machine-to-machine data transfer protocol that has become the leading messaging protocol for the IIoT.  MQTT was originally designed as a message transport for real-time SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) systems but does not define the data format or address issues around interoperability.  Sparkplug solves these issues.

Within a given industry segment, it is essential that all devices and software services share a common representation of the data format and operate according to the same lifecycle stages of the device information.  The intent and purpose of the Sparkplug specification is to define an MQTT topic namespace, payload, and session state management that can be applied generically.  By meeting the operational requirements for these systems, Sparkplug will enable MQTT-based infrastructures to provide more valuable real-time information to business stakeholders as well.  In other words, Sparkplug augments MQTT devices to provide standardization for most devices “out of the box,” enabling vendors, manufacturers and other industrial end-users to develop an ecosystem of solutions and devices that can easily interoperate.

The Eclipse Foundation has a proven track record of enabling developer-focused open source software collaboration and innovation earned over 15 years.  Overall, the Foundation’s more than 375 collaborative projects have resulted in over 195 million lines of code — a $10 billion shared investment.

To get involved with Eclipse Sparkplug Working Group and contribute to the project, please visit


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