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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.

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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.

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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.