Finding Low-Cost SCADA for Your Company

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Many different industries use supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) software. These industries’ products and processes can vary widely but something they often have in common is a strict budget. That’s why finding affordable solutions to your company’s automation needs is so important.

Unfortunately, many SCADA systems come with hidden fees and extra charges, are difficult and time-consuming to install, and have exorbitantly expensive training programs. To make low-cost SCADA a reality, not just a wishlist item, companies need a platform that solves these SCADA pain points with clear licensing and pricing, a free trial, fast and easy downloading, and cost-effective training.


Unlimited Licensing Per Server

Your SCADA software price will always vary based on what your company needs, but finding a low-cost SCADA platform that offers unlimited licensing will bring your expenses way down. Unlimited licensing means you only pay once for each server and then connect as many OPC servers, PLCs, databases, enterprise systems, clients, or other devices as you want to that server.

Many companies will charge you for your tags and clients, and often raise you to a higher pricing tier when you reach a certain amount of tags. An unlimited licensing model eliminates these hidden fees for adding tags and clients and it allows anyone with access to the system to make changes and build in it, so you don’t need to pay for extra designer space.


Unrestrictive SCADA Software Price Models

Often SCADA software is sold with traditional three-tier or case-by-case pricing models that can make it difficult to buy exactly what you need.

Many SCADA vendors offer three-tier pricing models to accommodate different levels of need, but if, let’s say, the lowest-priced tier lacks some features that you need, you’ll either have to do without those features or pay for a dramatically higher-priced tier to get what you need along with a whole lot of features you don’t need.

Also, some companies only offer pricing estimates after contacting them because they determine it on a case-by-case basis in order to make as much profit as possible. This can lead you down a rabbit hole of testing and discarding expensive SCADA software, which wastes time and money.

Finding a company that offers a fully transparent pricing model and more flexible options will give you and your team a lot more leeway when choosing the products you need. For example, a company that offered product packages for basic SCADA needs, and SCADA with additional capabilities like alarming and reporting, and enterprise SCADA for large-scale automation, as well as the option to build a custom and affordable SCADA system by adding or removing modules as needed, would be ideal.


An Affordable SCADA System with an Unlimited Free Trial

Free trials are uncommon among SCADA software options, and it’s even more uncommon to find software with an unlimited free trial. However, an unlimited free trial would be the best option for any business.

With an unlimited free trial, you can learn how to use your new software and choose what you need from it for as long as you want. It will also allow you to create your projects, add all of your tags, and connect to alarming and reporting systems for free before you even buy it. There’s no buyer's remorse with an unlimited free trial, and you get the assurance of knowing that the company is confident in its software.


Fast SCADA Software Download on Any OS

Web-based SCADA software downloads the fastest and easiest, and works on the widest range of operating systems. Like any other program you download from the internet, it uploads through an installer with minimal roadblocks.

Often SCADA software comes with monstrously large manuals (sometimes hundreds of pages long) on how to install them, or require you to re-upload projects every time you make a change. Web-based SCADA can install easily and can update in real-time as you save your project, so no need to download it onto a USB drive and reupload it to all of your clients. It also makes collecting data easy and backing that data up much easier.


Free Training for Your SCADA Platform

Many SCADA companies offer expensive in-person training courses that often get more expensive with bigger teams, so it may be best to find free online training. There's information on Google and YouTube about how to get started on nearly every platform, but a few companies will offer expert training for free and may even offer credentials for completed courses.

Finding a SCADA platform that offers free training is not only a great deal, but it shows the developers' transparency and their willingness to sacrifice another profitable product for a satisfied and well-informed user base.


Find Relief from SCADA Pain Points

If you find any software that solves all of these SCADA pain points, then you are on your way to an affordable SCADA system. To avoid running into these affordability problems, it's always best to have the most information about the product before you buy it.

One low-cost SCADA platform that lays it all out on the table is the web-based Ignition by Inductive Automation, with free educational content at Inductive University. It has an unlimited free trial, a modular pricing model, and it works cross-platform with Windows, MacOS, Linux, and all mobile devices. To get a more in-depth look at how Ignition solves cost-related pain points, check out this webinar.

Also, If you're interested in learning more about Ignition, get a full overview, download Ignition, or check out the pricing page to learn which tier is right for you. And explore free training lessons at Inductive University.

Dante Augello
Marketing Content Writer / Inductive Automation
Dante joined Inductive Automation at the beginning of 2022. His varied experience in technology, business, media, and electrical engineering offers a distinctive outlook on the automation industry. In his spare time he enjoys playing and recording music as well as hiking to great views.