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ABB receives Frost & Sullivan 2017 Best Practices Award for distributed control system innovation

Frost & Sullivan names ABB DCS company of the year for addressing automation market challenges with innovative technologies like cloud engineering, digital marshaling, virtualization, automated data management

Frost & Sullivan's independent analysts praised ABB for visionary innovations embodied by its distributed control system offering and its impact on customer performance. The award recognizes ABB’s digital leadership, not only when compared to other industrial automation suppliers, but also against non-industry peers. The award highlights how ABB meets customer needs for improved performance in tough market conditions, when process and power industries’ production assets have never been larger or more complex.

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Automation industry challenges

In 2016, the automation market was beset by several challenges, such as the plunge in oil prices, the economic slowdown in China, policy uncertainty caused by the new government in the United States, and political unrest in the Middle East. With the global investment climate improving following a rise in oil and commodity prices, there is new interest in automation projects that will boost production capacity and improve productivity. End users are now looking for opportunities to evaluate their automation systems in light of recent advances in engineering methods, automation, and the connectivity provided by commercial information technology and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), rather than simply returning to the methodologies of the past such as upgrading to the latest version of a control system provided by the current automation vendor.

The concept of a connected industry is increasingly becoming a reality as industries, such as oil and gas, chemicals, power, pharmaceuticals, steel, water, mining, food and beverage, move towards a digital operating environment to improve connectivity, productivity, and cost-effectiveness.

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How ABB enables new value creation for customers

The market research analysts attribute ABB’s success to its alignment with market mega trends and developing industry-specific DCS solutions to address the demands of different end-user market segments, thereby enabling them to create new opportunities and values for their customers. The following excerpts highlight the findings of Frost & Sullivan research report:

ABB lifecycle policy maximizes the useable life of a customer's control system investment


This means that ABB is committed to maintaining full lifecycle integrity for its products and systems and will not "Remove from Active Sale" any product or "family" of products until an equivalent replacement to those products is available. Once a product has been removed from active sale, ABB will continue to support the product for at least 10 years. ABB's dedicated service organization focuses on maintaining and continuously improving the performance of customer's equipment and processes through a suite of services, and by suggesting timely evolution paths to address unmet needs, increase safety and efficiency, reduce cyber security risks.

"ABB's life cycle policy is its key differentiator. ABB's advanced digital services are in continuous evolution, also in combination with new business models, to address opportunities through digitalization and unmet needs of customers."

ABB’s Select I/O solution for ABB Ability™ System 800xA fundamentally changes the way automation projects are executed, lowering risks and costs

Digital innovations such as cloud engineering and configurable I/O channels decouple software from hardware design, speeding up project execution and minimizing the impact of late stage design changes, which can cut costs by 20-30 %. ABB is one of only two companies capable of acting as a Main Automation, Electrical and Information Contractor (MAEIC).  Such a service further cuts the cost, schedule and risk of new projects through single-source accountability.


"The Select I/O, when coupled with the process know-how of ABB, improves the efficiency of DCS project execution and provides ABB a distinctive advantage in the DCS market with respect to competition."

ABB Ability™ unified digital capabilities for devices, systems, solutions, and services include self-learning


With the recent launch of the ABB Ability platform in 2017 and the availability of more than 180 ABB Ability solutions customized for individual end markets, ABB enables its customers to accelerate towards achieving operational excellence. ABB embraced the need to invest in start-ups as a way to foster innovation and scale up digital offerings quickly. The partnership with ABB and Microsoft is another way ABB is leading the way in nurturing a broader ecosystem of applications to drive digital excellence.
"While similar competitor offerings allow end users to sense, analyze, and take actions to drive efficiency, ABB has added self-learning capabilities to its solution that allow it to harvest data, take control, and enable users to do more. This distinguishes ABB from the rest of the competition in the market."

ABB Ability™ Collaborative Operations services help customers prevent failures and be more profitable


Improved asset performance is achieved by connecting people in customer production facilities and headquarters instantly, 24/7, to ABB experts who use remote diagnostics and analytics. Continuous collaboration helps make data-driven decisions for higher safety and security, reduced risks and lower costs.
"Problems are solved before they become failures by utilizing data insights and advanced analytics and through remote collaboration that enables real-time customer interaction. "

ABB locates third-party providers in close proximity to its end-users in order to reduce the response time


The ABB Value Provider Program (VPP), a one-of-its-kind program in the market, is aimed at developing ABB’s third-party channels like system integrators. For end-users, working with an ABB channel partner means having immediate access to experts with world-class skills and resources, plus an in-depth understanding of local business needs and conditions. A local supplier can also impact on implementation costs and speed.

"The value provider’s in-depth knowledge about local markets coupled with an expertise in ABB’s products enables it to function as an extension of ABB, resulting in extensive coverage in targeted regional segments. ABB has a footprint across a broad range of industry verticals, more than any other participant in the industrial space."

The widest DCS portfolio on industrial automation market

Connecting 70 million smart devices through 70,000 control systems, ABB has one of the largest installed bases of process automation systems when compared to other automation vendors. Frost & Sullivan states that ABB’s penetration and expansion in emerging markets has helped it dominate the DCS market with a 20.5% market share in 2016. It notes that ABB’s two closest competitors hold market shares of 15.2% and 14.5%.

ABB offers the customer-specific control platforms ABB Ability System 800xA, ABB Ability Symphony Plus, Freelance and Compact Product Suite. Symphony Plus is tailored to the power generation and water industries whereas System 800xA is targeted towards all other industries. Both DCS solutions are industry-leading and proven over decades evident by their installed base. All DCS solutions support customers by driving gains in performance, productivity, efficiency, and safety throughout the end-user business operations lifecycle, from the planning stage to the maintenance stage.

With the help of domain expertise and process knowledge, ABB has developed an overarching digital architecture that augments the human expertise of the clients to deliver improved performance. This enables ABB to design its solutions based on the context of each end-user requirement.

Further reading

Process and hybrid industries

Power and water industries

Other awards earned by ABB's DCS

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