The backbone of industrial information systems
Widely used in the energy, water, manufacturing and process industries, SCADA applications are also common in building management, where they are known as facilities management (FM) or building management systems (BMS). SCADA also has a role to play in more specialist solutions such as safety/security and energy efficiency. Through their ability to collect data from many different sources and systems, build technical processes, and allow operators to control them through HMIs, SCADA systems can be viewed as the backbone of industrial information systems. They are fundamental to the digital transformation of businesses, provided that the chosen solution is technologically sustainable, functionally proven and capable of meeting strategic cybersecurity challenges.
A core feature of Industry 4.0
When appropriately designed from the outset, SCADA software can incorporate intelligent interfaces to third-party systems. In this case, management applications can converge information flows from the industrial information system (OT: operational technology) with data from the enterprise information system (IT: information technology). This is known as OT/IT convergence. Indeed, one of the key challenges for industry of the future (or Industry 4.0) will be how to share OT/IT information and harness all this data productively. These emerging capabilities, combined with new information technologies, such as IoT (Internet of things) and BIM (building information management), when implemented around SCADA systems, offer huge potential for new growth. Continuous improvement, performance optimization, increased agility of production systems and improved overall efficiency are all opportunities for strengthening the competitiveness of companies and identifying new drivers for development.