The Open Field Message Bus™ (OpenFMB™) is part of SGIP’s EnergyIoT™ initiative, bringing the IoT and advanced interoperability to the power grid.  It is a framework for distributed intelligent nodes interacting with each other through loosely coupled, peer -to-peer messaging for fielded devices and systems at the grid edge.  It is simply the application of industrial internet technologies and techniques to enable the Smart Grid.

The OpenFMB™ framework provides a specification for power systems field devices to leverage a non-proprietary and standards-based reference architecture, which consists of internet protocol (IP) networking and Internet of Things (IoT) messaging protocols.

The framework supports Distributed Energy Resources that communicate based on a common schematic definition and then can process the data locally for action (control, reporting).  OpenFMB™ supports field-based applications that enable:

  • Scalable peer-to-peer publish/subscribe architecture
  • Data-centric, rather than device-centric, communication including support for harmonized system and device data
  • Distributed operations augmenting centralized control


OpenFMB™ Guiding Principles

The Open Field Message Bus (OpenFMB™) was designed to address interoperability with fielded devices and systems – real equipment and real systems operating on the grid. The OpenFMB™ Priority Action Plan is utility-led and the team is composed of advanced technology utility, vendor, consultant, and standard development volunteer experts, all focused on developing a framework that leverages today’s technologies in a powerful, yet simple way.

The OpenFMB™ framework is based on the following guiding principles:

Guiding Principle Details
Based on operational and functional requirements
  • Use cases drive functional and operational requirements
  • Requirements determine and limit scope and success parameters
  • Features added only when requirements demand them
Flexible architecture
  • No “one size fits” all solution
  • Framework is compatible with multiple data models, communications, protocols, and technologies
  • Support multiple methods of communication and integration
No reinventing the wheel
  • Use existing standards, architecture patterns, and requirements where possible
  • Be consistent with other industry IoT solutions, such as Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC) IIoT Reference Architecture
  • Time to market is key driver
  • Solution must be good enough to meet market needs, not “perfect”
Focus on business value and objectives
  • Add features with most impactful business value first
  • Due to limited resources, focus on high value use cases first
  • Address “nice to have” features in future updates
Collaborate with standards bodies
  • SGIP coordinates with the NAESB, IEC, and other relevant SSOs as required
  • Minimize or eliminate duplication of effort and scope
  • Coordination takes time and effort, but it’s worth it
No stranded resources
  • Consider topology and needs of existing environment
  • Use of existing resources and ability to add new functionality without “rip and replace” is a key success criteria
  • Modify solutions as necessary to address existing environment
Security built-in from the beginning
  • Security is a functional and operational requirement
  • Apps run in the field autonomously and require secure, reliable operation
  • Solution must be reliable and trustworthy

OpenFMB™ Cartoons

Published on Oct 16, 2015

This SGIP OpenFMB™ Overview animation provides a fun and informative story of how the Open Field Message Bus (OpenFMB™) framework is used to create interoperable systems on the grid. The framework leverages existing information models and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies to create multi-vendor machine-to-machine interoperability on the electric grid.

OpenFMB™ Members & Membership

SGIP Members can become part of this exciting new project by going to the OpenFMB™ Project under the Priority Action Plans (PAPs) group (or click here) and add yourself to the roster.

If you are not a member of SGIP click here to learn more and join today.

OpenFMB™ Meeting Information and Future Activities

OpenFMB™ was started in early 2015, and is one of SGIP’s areas of focus . The start-up meeting was held in Phoenix, AZ in early March, and, from there, the project took off.

Centered around creating a new paradigm that defines how distributed applications and open interfaces can enable interoperability peer-to-peer data exchanges between distributed power systems devices on the electric grid’s field area network(s), an OpenFMB™ framework would provide a specification for power systems field devices to leverage a non-proprietary and standards-based reference architecture platform, which consists of internet protocol (IP) networking and Internet of Things (IoT) messaging protocols.

Participation in the SGIP OpenFMB™ Priority Action Plan is open to all SGIP members.

The team meets bi-weekly on Thursdays 2-3 pm (ET) and meets face-to-face several times a year, typically at quarterly intervals, at test bed, R&D, and utility locations.

The OpenFMB™ project is Co-Chaired by Stuart McCafferty, Hitachi, and Stuart Laval, Duke Energy Manager of Emerging Technology Development.

Utilities, Smart Grid vendors, and test bed organizations are highly encouraged to participate in this exciting EnergyIoT™ interoperability effort.

The OpenFMB™ project team will soon be developing the next set of goals and plans for 2017.  The team has completed Microgrid and Distributed Energy Resource Management Use Cases, and continues to focus on developing an OpenFMB™ Cybersecurity roadmap.  SGIP, and the OpenFMB™ team, are consensus driven and members have a voice in setting the agenda for further collaborative OpenFMB™ work.

Standardization Efforts

Using the highly successful Green Button PAP as a template, SGIP contacted the North American Energy Standards Board (NAESB) to create an OpenFMB™ task force to draw upon the experiences of OpenFMB™ simulations, tests, and interoperability demonstrations and develop an OpenFMB™ framework.

OpenFMB™ was ratified by the NAESB Board on March 7th, 2016.  The official release is NAESB RMQ.26 Open Field Message Bus (OpenFMB) Model Business Practices.  It is part of the version 3.1 bundle released in March 2016.

Learn more about the NAESB OpenFMB standard at or find specific instructions on how to obtain the standard at the SGIP OpenFMB Collaboration Site in the Standard section.

OpenFMB™ Usage Guidelines

These guidelines describe the proper use of the OpenFMB™ trademark, which is owned by SGIP 2.0, Inc. (“SGIP”). SGIP is currently developing certification standards and procedures for OpenFMB™. This document describes the correct usage of the OpenFMBTM trademark. Please see “Guidelines for use of OpenFMB™ Trademark” for information.