PALO ALTO, Calif., August 8, 2005 — In the wake of a succession of major blackouts, electric utilities, more than ever, are concerned about averting potential power disruptions. While this strengthens the cause for supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems to improve grid reliability, vendors often fail to present a convincing business case and electrical utility personnel fail to demonstrate a clear justification for investment on SCADA to the approving officers despite being convinced of its need.
Hence, vendors need to work closely with SCADA utility personnel and refashion their approach to justifying investments in the solution. In addition to quantitative benefits such as operational savings direct cost savings and opportunity cost savings, it is useful to present the investment in broader terms, such as utilities’ business strategies, corporate responsibility, infrastructure security, deregulation, public image, and liability risks.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan (www.power.frost.com), North American Power Transmission SCADA Systems Markets, reveals that revenue in these totaled $150.3 million in 2004 and projects to grow to $214.7 million by 2011.
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As new generation SCADA systems incorporate open standards including Internet Protocols and networked communications, the threat of cyber intrusions from hackers is looming large. Hackers, and information such as system site locations, in particular, can penetrate internet-based systems; nature of equipment and the type of protocol could be used to cause technical and physical disruptions.
“With such threats, electric utilities want vendors to accord special attention to this issue in sales presentations and explain how their system will be safeguarded from potential cyber-intruders,” notes Frost & Sullivan Strategic Analyst Roberto Torres. “In response to the increased security concerns, vendors are updating and modifying sales pitches such that the security issue plays a central role in the presentation agenda.”
Facilitated by the trend toward open standards, electric utilities have gradually evolved from a pattern of major upgrades every ten or more years, to smaller, step-by-step upgrades every two to three years.
The “evergreen” agreement is a response to the evolving purchasing behavior of utilities and presents both opportunities and challenges for SCADA vendors. More frequent sales allow for improved finances to the extent that stable and continuous revenues are preferred over larger, though less frequent, contract amounts. However, it remains unclear if long term revenues will improve with the increasingly popular “evergreen” agreements.
“As prices of SCADA systems continue to decline, the biggest growth opportunity lies with electrical municipalities and rural cooperatives, most of which do not have these systems but are now exploring their installation,” says Torres. “The urgent need to upgrade energy management systems in response to grid instability problems assures a strong short term prospects for the North American power transmission SCADA systems markets.”
North American Power Transmission SCADA Systems Markets, part of the Transmission, Distribution and Metering Equipment and Services subscription, reveals important differences between the various electric utility and non-utility segments with power transmission application. The study provides a deeper understanding of the markets and its opportunities. It further offers a review of electric utility purchase patterns and discusses key drivers and restraints for the above markets. Analyst interviews and executive summaries are available to the press.
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