The emergence of global smart grid projects is widening the usage scope of supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems in energy and utility industries. Some of the main areas of application for these systems are outage management, demand forecasting and analytics, and the single biggest market; the electric power industry with a share of 64.3 percent.
Frost & Sullivan finds that the market earned revenues of $4.55 billion in 2014 and estimates this to reach $7.34 billion in 2021.
While the emerging markets will prove attractive to SCADA suppliers due to their high energy demand, the European Union too is fostering a favorable investment climate with its focus on renewable projects.
“On the one hand, the escalating energy requirements have created opportunities for greenfield expansions, while on the other, the need to modernize aging pipelines, power grids and water infrastructure have stoked brownfield opportunities,” said Frost & Sullivan Manufacturing 4.0 Senior Industry Analyst Piyush Dewangan. “In addition, shale gas exploration activities in North America are accelerating the deployment of SCADA systems.”
Although SCADA system vendors are making an effort to keep pace with changing trends, advancements in communication technologies will significantly disrupt SCADA architecture. As devices now directly communicate with next-generation enterprise software in real-time and all business processes are integrated, there will be a drop in the share of hardware revenue. However, demand for application software will gather momentum.
The ongoing global oil price fluctuations and economic crisis in Europe, the Middle East and Africa will further dampen market growth rates. In addition, concerns regarding cybersecurity will shift end-user priorities from capacity development to security-related projects, limiting the adoption of SCADA systems.
“To appeal to a larger pool of end users, suppliers are offering strong value propositions with value-added application software and associated services,” noted Dewangan. “Suppliers are also building service portfolios that manage cybersecurity in order to suppress apprehensions and ensure success in the global SCADA market.”