By Larry O'Brien, Allen Avery, Paula Hollywood and Craig Resnick
The process control and automation businesses of the Top 50 global and North American suppliers still face some challenging headwinds, and 2016 was a tough year. Traditional automation suppliers are betting on big transformations into the world of the Internet of Things (IoT)—or to the Industrial IoT (IIoT) in the case of automation—to rejuvenate their businesses. ARC Advisory Group also sees an increasing focus on cybersecurity as the critical infrastructure and manufacturing sectors continue to experience high profile cyberattacks.
In addition, “lower for longer” seems to be the mantra when it comes to oil prices. Higher oil prices had driven much of the investment in new projects before the price crash, but the new reality isn’t betting on a fresh increase in prices to save the day. Instead, both end users and suppliers are focused on improving operations, increasing reliability, reducing downtime, and providing a path toward truly predictive analytics.
In a highly transformational period such as the one we find ourselves in now, it’s normal to see a lot of merger and acquisition activity, emergence of new competitors, and a focus on transforming the installed base—all of which we're witnessing today.