Why IoT is ushering in a bright future for the energy industry
How can The Internet of Things (IoT) and other emerging technologies help decision makers in the energy industry realise the powerful benefits that data offers? We discussed this topic with Alexander Lubchansky, Business Development Manager at Tyrion.
Head of Marketing at Axora
The energy industry has weathered a storm of challenges brought about by the pandemic, but because of this, companies have been more driven to innovate than ever before. Decision makers are now looking to technology to do more than just mitigate the short-term risks, realising the powerful benefits that data offers in terms of efficiency, safety and sustainability. The Internet of Things (IoT) is at the heart of this, but other exciting technologies are also emerging that hold revolutionary potential for the industry.
As companies in the energy space became increasingly accepting of technology in the past year, the call for better data and easier access to it have been common theme.
Driving innovation in a volatile market
I try to find a silver lining in everything. Although COVID-19 presented some significant initial challenges for the industry, it has also thrown the world forward in terms of innovation. The nature of the global pandemic has presented a requirement for increased remote working, and we at Tyrion have risen to support our customers in that challenge with our industrial Internet of Things (IoT) solutions. As companies in the energy space became increasingly accepting of technology in the past year, the call for better data and easier access to it have been common themes. We pride ourselves on delivering secure, remote access to customer data via mobile devices, wherever the user is in the world.
With the shadow of consumer use and oversupply challenges from the beginning of the pandemic fading for the oil and gas sector, I feel very positive that data collection is set to be the next game changer for this vertical and many others. In North America and other parts of the world, we are seeing organisations wanting to be more agile in a range of ways, including areas like financing where we are making a real impact for our clients. Tyrion is enabling organisations to take a more agile approach to operations by reducing capex outputs, achieved by streamlining processes with our innovative IoT solutions.
Promoting sustainability and efficiency
We help our customers to achieve their efficiency and sustainability goals in a two-fold way. The reductions in capex play a big part in this, combined with the ability our solutions offer to better deploy existing workforces. Typically, organisations have large numbers of people driving pick-up trucks to manually check on numerous sites, every day, 365 days a year. Not only does this blind approach waste time, but it requires huge amounts of fuel to power fleets of vehicles for largely unnecessary activities.
Our solutions enable organisations to augment their traditional approaches with a targeted one, using IoT sensors to alert engineers to sites that require maintenance or attention. While reducing costs and pollution directly, this approach also allows the organisation to build a better understanding of risks and requirements through the richer, cleaner data that the technology gathers and stores. The Nucleus device that we offer is designed with Edge capability, functioning as an IoT device that can be connected flexibly to the internet via Wi-Fi, cellular or satellite. It can also be seamlessly connected to our proprietary cloud or the customer’s cloud, depending on their unique requirements.
To be clear, I do not believe that everything is going to become autonomous. The human element remains crucial in reviewing the data and verifying the outputs. To be truly effective organisations will need a hybrid approach that brings a range of expertise into the loop.
A success story brought about by one of our solutions relates to a large oil and gas customer in West Texas, running an operation spanning a vast acreage. The company’s Vice President of Surface Operations told us that we had reduced the organisation’s process timeframes from three months down to just two weeks, marking a significant boost to bottom-line growth. To provide further perspective, if a customer was traditionally operating with a capex expense of 2.5 million dollars, it would be possible to reduce it to under 500 thousand dollars with the right solution.
Motivations and the digital future
I am a big believer in data driven decisions, and I feel very positive about the future of the industry. Companies have had to adapt during the pandemic, and now the key for them to get a performance edge is in gathering high quality data. We have seen a growing interest among customers to not just innovate and optimise specific areas of their businesses, but to take an end-to-end approach and enhance all areas. IoT is the cornerstone in enabling organisations to gather clean, meaningful data, and that is why I think the industry’s future is so bright.
To be clear, I do not believe that everything is going to become autonomous. The human element remains crucial in reviewing the data and verifying the outputs. To be truly effective organisations will need a hybrid approach that brings a range of expertise into the loop. In my experience, the person with forty years’ experience of writing the numbers down on a clipboard is invaluable when it comes to spotting inconsistencies.
Game changing tech trends
There is a really exciting combination of technologies emerging that is set to have a huge impact on a range of industries, these are digital twins and augmented reality (AR). A digital twin is a digital representation of a process facility, this could be a milk tank in the dairy industry for example. Through the combined capabilities of these technologies, a remote operator could see and interact with the facility on a virtual level, promising far more effective, targeted responses.
The ability for an engineer to remotely see and gain insight into the workings of a facility present a major step change in areas like maintenance, allowing a single engineer to assess machinery and equipment in multiple different regions regardless of distance. Not only will this optimise the efficiency of maintenance and monitoring, but it will also help to tackle industry talent challenges in a couple of powerful ways. On the one hand it allows existing engineers and staff to apply their skills to greater effect, while also aiding in the effective training of new talent coming on board.
This article is a part of our Innovation Leaders in efficiency series. To view the report and further interviews and insights into efficiency solutions, visit our Innovation Leaders page here.
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