Supervisory control and data acquisition, or SCADA, is a computer system used to gather and analyze real-time data. SCADA systems may be relatively simple
or immensely complex, depending upon the area of application. SCADA systems help monitor and control equipment in industries such as pharmaceutical, water
and waste control, telecommunications, oil and gas refining, food and beverages, energy, and transportation. The demand for SCADA systems has surged over
time, especially from industries characterized by huge investment, such as the oil and gas and power sectors.
Evolution of the SCADA Market: From Multi-cable Systems to Computer-based Stations
While the working of SCADA systems has evolved since they were first used in their primary form in as early as the 1930s, the basic premise remains the
same. Back then, supervisory control was implemented in electric utility systems owing to the need to operate equipment in remote substations. Personnel
stationed at the site or sending a crew to operate equipment were replaced with supervisory control systems. The use of a pair of wires or multi-pair
cables between sites was replaced by magnetic stepping switches developed by the telephone company, making the technology the earliest form of supervisory
control system. Relay systems later on became a mode of communication to the remote, with Westinghouse (in conjunction with North Electric Company),
General Electric, and Control Corporation pioneering the use of the coding system.
The term SCADA, however, came into use only after the 1960s, when the use of a computer-based master station became common and real-time functions became a
reality. Westinghouse (PRODAC) and General Electric (GETAC) were the two players who made a mark for themselves in the SCADA market at the time. Scientific Data Systems and Digital Equipment Company also contributed to the
development of the SCADA market.
Today, SCADA systems, software, and services have become an invaluable part of any enterprise, helping them reduce input costs and ensure higher savings.
Companies across the globe have invested in the SCADA market, strengthening competition and boosting demand. Some of the leading players in the SCADA
market today are Siemens AG, Rockwell Automation, Inc., Alstom SA, Emerson Electric Co., ABB Ltd., Omron Corp, Schneider Electric SE, General Electric Co.,
Honeywell International Inc., and Yokogawa Electric Corporation.
Japan’s Omron Corp has launched a set of advanced automation solutions primarily aimed at the ever-growing automotive sectors of four Asian economies:
Vietnam, India, Indonesia, and Thailand.
Various Industry Verticals Making Use of SCADA
The SCADA market today can be segmented on the basis of three chief parameters: component, architecture, and application. The key components of SCADA are
human-machine interface (HMI), SCADA communication systems, programmable logic controller (PLC), remote terminal unit (RTU), and others. By architecture,
the market for SCADA includes hardware, software, and services. The major application industries of SCADA, as mentioned earlier, include wastewater
processing, pharmaceuticals, food and beverage, manufacturing, chemicals, telecommunications, gas and oil, and power plants.
The global SCADA market is driven by the soaring popularity of process automation across all sectors and industry verticals. Increased awareness regarding
the technology, its significance, and benefits is expected to propel the SCADA market from US$23.20 billion in 2013 to US$32.7 billion by 2020. The U.S. is
presently the largest market for SCADA owing to high investments in oil and gas and dynamic consumption patterns with respect to the power and food and
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