Recently I saw a posting on LinkedIn asking “What’s the difference between a SCADA system and an ICS system, and if there is no difference, then why do we have two different names?”
This is a good question, because unless you have worked in the industrial automation field for a few decades, the terminology can seem very confusing. Not only do we have SCADA versus ICS, we also have terms like Process Control, Discrete Control, Industrial Automation, Manufacturing Automation Systems, Distributed Control Systems, Energy Management Systems and so on.
The Quick Answer
Now the quick answer is that Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) is a subset of Industrial Control Systems (ICS).
SCADA generally refers to control systems that span a large geographic area, such as a gas pipeline, power transmission system or water distribution system. I use both terms together because SCADA is often better known by the press, government officials and the public, but ICS is probably the technically correct term to use if you are referring to industrial automation of all types. Read more