With all the chatter around Industrial IoT (IIoT) and the disruption it brings to business operations, where does Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) technology for industrial organizations stand? Is it still relevant or will it be phased out? As businesses begin to recognize the benefits of modern technologies and deploy them across industrial networks to increase connectivity between the field and business office, this is a legitimate question.
However, while organizations are working to modernize their operations, we are finding that SCADA is in no way becoming obsolete – at least for the foreseeable future. Instead, we are starting to see more modern approaches to SCADA. For example, there are now app-based small SCADA systems that are designed to fit modern network needs while putting less of a strain on technology budgets.
Research also indicates that the SCADA industry will continue to drive forward. According to a recent report, the global Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition market was valued at $7.5 billion in 2014. It is expected to reach $11 billion in 2021 and is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 7.40 percent between 2016 and 2021. In the Oil & Gas Market alone it is estimated that SCADA will be Worth $4.52 Billion by 2022.
We Still Need SCADA
Clearly, SCADA will remain an essential network component; however, we will likely begin to see modern technology have a transformative impact on SCADA. As industries increasingly adopt automation technologies to streamline monitoring and process control, technology providers are working on ways to better integrate SCADA and IIoT technologies into the network.
With new programmable app server software platforms now available that combine 900 MHz RF-based technology with the ability to program and host third-party applications, there are clear signs that the SCADA systems of tomorrow will be designed to meet modern data and production demands. The newly available, app-based small SCADA systems that run on app server software platforms are already an indicator of a much more cost effective option than traditional SCADA. This gives smaller businesses an affordable way to manage data and control their network.
Reducing Hardware to Drive ROI
App Based Small SCADA solutions achieve the same critical SCADA functions of larger systems, including data management, logic execution and visualization – without the use of PLC-type hardware. The ZumDash Small SCADA App, for example, is programmed into FreeWave’s ZumLink radios to achieve collection, monitoring and control functionality. Furthermore, it provides a “dashboard” with status and trend visualization from any web-based device.
Using Node-RED for simple, easy programming, the app-based small SCADA system was designed with minimal CAPEX and OPEX. The result is a system that increases production, optimizes operations and mitigates the risk of a catastrophic event. And the beautiful thing about a programmable app-based SCADA system is that it is customizable to individual network needs at a fraction of the cost of a traditional SCADA setup.
As technology and automation demands continue to drive innovation, we expect to see an increase in advanced approaches to SCADA. As we look towards the future of SCADA, we see IIoT enabling better operations and control of the network, faster ROI, safer operations and reduced downtime.