Recent analysis from Frost & Sullivan has revealed that the European supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) market earned revenues of $1,325.2 million in 2009. It estimates that this figure will reach $1,902.1 million in 2016. The research covered the areas of oil and gas, power, water and wastewater and others, including plant-level SCADA (food and beverage, pharmaceuticals, chemicals and pulp and paper) and automotive and transportation.
“Booming economies in Eastern Europe and the stable and growing German market are set to promote heavy capital investments,” said Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Katarzyna Owczarczyk. “The increase in investments in Western Europe and the North Sea, upstream operations and the greater demand for energy, retrofits, and also the upcoming large gas and oil pipelines are some of the key factors driving the SCADA market in Europe.”
The reason for the increasing popularity of this technology is put down to the fact that it is considered an ideal solution to provide operational effectiveness for a relatively low capital investment. Apart from the oil and gas, power and water and wastewater sectors, the food and beverage and pharmaceuticals industries are also seeing an increased uptake of SCADA systems.
“By initiating commands through the SCADA system based on tariff information, more efficient use of energy can be supported,” said Owczarczyk. “Using historical data collected by the SCADA system and stored in a data warehouse, peaks and troughs in demand can be predicted.”
However, one of the big challenges confronting SCADA is that of cyber security. “Vendors of SCADA and control products are increasingly addressing these risks by developing lines of specialised industrial firewall and VPN solutions for TCP/IP-based SCADA networks,” said Owczarczyk. Better education of plant-level operators and engineers as well as system integrators and other SCADA developers about the benefits and importance of providing security is also necessary to ensure system security.
The smaller players in this market do not have the capabilities to offer global support or focus on niche products or applications. “Being able to meet the demand for complete solutions offerings, multinational SCADA suppliers are in the best position to grow,” concludes Owczarczyk. “More mergers and acquisitions are likely to be observed in Europe and globally, to help suppliers take a better position, when bidding for major contracts.”