Industrial SCADA/HMI Software: What Strategic Moves Should Vendors Make?

Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) and Human-Machine Interface (HMI) software are at the core of modern manufacturing operations. Almost all manufacturers use it in some fashion, with the exception being those that run the simplest of production lines. SCADA/HMI software is undergoing significant evolution to keep pace with rapidly changing market needs. In this resource, learn how SCADA/HMI software vendors can keep up—and align their products with manufacturing needs.

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Market Overview

  • ABI Research forecasts that manufacturing firms will increase their spending on SCADA/HMI software by a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 6.2% from 2023 to 2033, increasing from US$6.17 billion to US$11.30 billion, as companies upgrade their legacy SCADA/HMI solutions to adapt to higher-volume data retrieval and disperse it not only across the factory, but the entire enterprise.
  • Key market drivers for SCADA/HMI software include:
    • The growing symbiotic market of industrial automation hardware, such as Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) sensors and Industrial Personal Computers (IPCs).
    • The need to ensure connectivity and effective integration with smart factory solutions, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI)-enhanced data analytics, digital twins, and advanced Manufacturing Execution System (MES) solutions.
    • Changing labor market conditions require one-to-many architectures and flexible working.
    • Highly regulated industries, such as pharmaceutical, medical devices, and aerospace and defense, investing in the digital transformation process to meet changing stringent regulations and ensure compliance.
    • Ongoing margin pressures from volatile energy prices and inflation encourage manufacturers to adopt new solutions to leverage data enterprise-wide to inform strategic decision-making.
  • Vendors with the top-five largest SCADA/HMI software market shares include:
    • Emerson (17.3%)
    • Siemens (12.1%)
    • Mitsubishi Electric (11.6%)
    • Schneider Electric (11.3%)
    • Honeywell (8.8%)

“Overall, pure SCADA software market growth will begin to slow and instead augment the market growth of more connected platforms that join automation Level 2 and Level 3, primarily Manufacturing Execution Systems (MESs). HMI software will retain its identity and market size, alongside becoming a more complete visualization tool that is closely integrated with the MES.” – James Prestwood, Analyst at ABI Research


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Key Decision Items

Deliver SCADA/HMI Software as a SaaS Product with an Unlimited Licensing Model

Manufacturers are looking for flexibility and scalability in their solutions. Until recently, the pricing for most SCADA/HMI software was based on the number of workstations and how many tags (the number of data points and devices) were being used. This meant that if manufacturers wanted to add extra assets and IIoT devices that brought in additional data, this would increase their SCADA/HMI software costs.

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and unlimited licensing models for SCADA/HMI software will, therefore, be the most successful over the next decade, as they allow manufacturers to scale their operations easily and cost-effectively.

An example of this SCADA/HMI approach is AVEVA Flex, which monitors the number of users accessing the system, rather than the number of tags to determine manufacturers’ costs. These deployment and licensing models meet several critical needs:

  • Easy upgrades
  • Mixed-deployment options
  • Lower cost of adoption
  • Easy scaling

Ensure Your SCADA/HMI Software Is Easy to Integrate

SCADA/HMI software must be designed to move toward being a more integrated and complete solution. Manufacturers are increasingly looking for two key elements: a comprehensive ecosystem and modularity.

Customers want to be able to deploy best-of-breed software across

their enterprise, which requires that technology vendors have a wide range of offerings that can be integrated alongside their own products and any third-party system. This modularity is especially important in the SCADA/HMI software space, as many manufacturers will already implement a solution.

For technology vendors to effectively replace any SCADA/HMI software, they will have to ensure a smooth transition over to the new solution, being able to integrate with any legacy MES software or Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) devices.

Make the SCADA/HMI Software Future-Proof

Technology vendors must also ensure that their SCADA/HMI software is designed with future technological development in mind. While the cycle for implementing new software systems is being shortened, manufacturers will still want to deploy their SCADA/HMI for a reasonable length of time before replacing it.

This SCADA/HMI software must be able to use and work with advanced analytics, AI-supported software, and even Virtual Reality (VR) headsets. This trend will continue to become ever more prevalent in the market as manufacturers look to optimize their machines and production processes further.

Effectively Communicate the Points of Differentiation and Innovation of the SCADA/HMI Software

SCADA/HMI software has a mature place within the manufacturing industry, with nearly all enterprises employing one in some form. Over the years, much of the software on the market has developed similar, if not identical, functionality. Therefore, SCADA/HMI technology vendors must highlight the key points of differentiation and innovation in their software solutions.

Manufacturers need to be able to identify which solutions have functionality that best fits their requirements. Examples of key selling points in today’s SCADA/HMI software market are:

  • Low-code application use and development
  • Integration with all used third-party solutions
  • Zero downtime deployment
  • SaaS and unlimited licensing models
  • End-to-end industrial automation provision
  • A proven and repeatable rapid time to value

Key Market Players to Watch

Dig Deeper for the Full Picture

ABI Research’s Industrial Automation: SCADA/HMI Software research report dives into the world of these evolving technologies. In the report, learn more about the following:

  • An analysis of 12 different SCADA/HMI software vendors
  • The latest market forecasts depicting demand for SCADA/HMI software
  • Understand how and why the SCADA/HMI software market is shifting
  • A few real-world case studies in which a manufacturer leveraged an innovative SCADA-HMI software solution
  • And much more!

Get the report here.

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This content is part of the company’s Industrial & Manufacturing Technologies Research Service.