A distributed control system (DCS) refers to a control system or a process where the controller unit is not central in location, but distributed throughout the system. Every component in the system is controlled by one or more controller elements. It is a computerized control system generally used in the production line of an industry. Distributed control systems are finding wide range of applications in different industries such as oil and gas, power, chemicals, metal and mining, pharmaceuticals, water and wastewater treatment, pulp and paper industry, and other process industries. Use of distributed control systems in these industries helps in improving the process efficiency and in turn the production quality. 
The growing demand for distributed control systems in the power industry, migration strategy adopted by consumers, and emergence of open source DCS solutions is currently driving the global market. Majority of the preinstalled distributed control systems are reaching the end of their reasonable lifecycle, thus creating the demand for system up-gradation or replacement of older systems with newer ones. There are around 5 million buildings in North America that can be retrofitted. Distributed control systems are most useful in retrofitting projects, thus, they have tremendous market potential, especially in North America. 
In terms of end user industry, oil and gas industry is the largest user of DCS; however, power industry is expected to remain the fastest growing end use industry during the forecast period. The Asia Pacific region will remain the largest and fastest growing market for DCS owing to a large number of Greenfield projects in this region. 
Among the three main components of DCS namely, hardware, software and services, software segment holds majority share owing to many up-gradation projects in the North American region. The market for hardware is expected to grow at the fastest rate due to a number of installations for Greenfield projects in the Asia Pacific region.
Distributed control system (DCS) is a computerized control system used to control the production line in the industry. It provides an advanced solution for the complicated process automation systems to make them more efficient and reliable. Growing use of DCS in process automation helps in improving the process quality, down time costs, reduces the life cycle, and creates high reserves, thus, encouraging the companies to invest in newer distribution control systems. Increase in manufacturing activities in Asia Pacific and Middle East countries is expected to contribute to the growing demand for distributed control system (DCS) solutions across different end use industries. Increasing investments in oil and gas, chemicals, petrochemicals, power generation, and water and waste-water industry among others is driving the demand for distributed control systems in regional markets. There is rapid industrialization worldwide since the markets have begun to revive after the launch of projects that were deferred during the economic downturn.
Increasing demand for oil and gas is creating the need for technologically advanced control systems for monitoring and controlling different activities in order to increase production efficiency. Also, these systems can help in reducing the risk to human life as DCS solutions can be implemented in hazardous environments. 
The growing demand for power is encouraging governments to set up new power stations or upgrade the existing ones for capacity expansion. Use of DCS solutions for monitoring different activities in power generation stations will help in enhancing the power generation speed and avoid human errors occurring during the process. Also, there is an increasing demand for distributed control systems in food processing industries due to the rapidly growing population. 
The global distributed control systems market is segmented based on components into DCS hardware, DCS software, and DCS services. The software segment is the largest in the global DCS market as most existing distributed control systems require system upgradation. DCS hardware is expected to become the fastest growing segment during the forecast period from 2012 to 2018 due to the increasing number of Greenfield projects in the Asia Pacific region. 
Most distributed control systems in North America and Europe were installed during the 1980s and are now reaching the end of their reasonable lifecycle, thus generating the need to upgrade or replace the systems. The opportunities in retrofitting currently outnumber the opportunities for new construction activities. In North America alone, there are around 5 million buildings that can be retrofitted, thus displaying the potential for distributed control systems in retrofit projects.  
The study on global distributed control systems, analyzes the market based on major component type, applications of DCS in end user industry and major geographies. The geographies analyzed under this report include North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and Rest of the World. The report provides complete analysis of the factors responsible for driving and restraining the global DCS market and discusses the potential growth opportunities. 
Market shares and analysis of the leading players in the distributed control systems market is presented in the research study. ABB Ltd remained the market leader followed by Siemens and Honeywell in 2011. Other important players dominating the global distributed control systems market include Honeywell International, Yokogawa, Emerson, and Invensys Plc among others. The worldwide DCS market is highly consolidated with top five players accounting for around three-fourth of the total market share. Key players are continuously upgrading their products to keep up with the global market and match the increasing demands for sophisticated automated systems. 
The global market for distributed control systems is segmented as follows:
Distributed Control Systems 
By component type
  • DCS hardware
  • DCS software
  • DCS services
By end user industry
  • Oil and gas industry
  • Chemicals industry
  • Power industry
  • Metal and mining industry
  • Pharmaceutical industry
  • Water and waste water treatment industry
  • Pulp and paper industry
  • Other process industries
By geography
  • North America
  • Europe
  • Asia Pacific 
  • Rest of the world