DCS Growth Tempered by Cybersecurity Concerns

A new Frost & Sullivan report predicts the DCS market will grow by about $5 billion over the next five years, but only if suppliers invest in secure, integrated architectures.

source: ABB
source: ABB

Demand for Distributed Control Systems (DCS) is on the rise spurred by growth in the power generation and oil & gas sectors, according to a new report from Frost & Sullivan. But security concerns related to recent cyber-attacks and malware targeting industrial automation are raising red flags among manufacturers, which will force DCS vendors to add robust security features and services before they can take advantage of the market opportunity.

If the vendors succeed in delivering a highly secure platform while keeping an eye on the industry drivers-- including the shale gas expansion in North America; energy demands in developing markets; and modernization efforts underway at existing plants—they will be well-positioned to grow market share.

According to the Frost report, “Analysis of the Global Distributed Control Systems (DCS) Market,” the DCS market earned revenues of $15.94 billion in 2013 and is estimated to reach $21.11 billion in 2020.

Security alone, however, will not win business as DCS suppliers are also being asked to create a scalable infrastructure that integrates with other applications, such as batch management. Rockwell Automation, for example, in response to customer appeals, recently outlined efforts underway to build out its “modern DCS” as a unified architecture from process to power to packaging equipment.

Indeed, the integrated approach is important to the DCS market, says Frost & Sullivan Senior Research Analyst Piyush Dewangan.

“End users are looking for collaborative DCS that include higher-level solutions such as production management, asset management, and manufacturing execution systems,” Dewangan said in a statement. “Automation suppliers must also offer customized DCS bundled with tailored solutions for smaller applications to widen their reach in the global DCS market.”

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