Terms like “the cloud,” “big data,” “analytics,” and “the Internet of Things (IoT)” are making news, and insiders mention we’re in a new digital revolution. Why? Simply put, advanced technology developments are giving company leaders new levels of visibility, access, and efficiencies with their businesses and customers — and many are taking full advantage.
Big data describes the huge amount of information to which business leaders have access. The cloud is a means to store data in off-site servers, and analytics refers to the studying and using of the collected data. The Internet of Things (IoT), in its simplest form, refers to how computers and other machines connect and communicate with one another and allow for predictive real-time information transmission. This information and computing power is extremely valuable and has far-reaching application across industries as diverse as finance, manufacturing, and health care.
Data analytic software can take granular information and find substantial cost savings. Well-known manufacturer Caterpillar Corporation turned to IoT to dramatically increase return on investment by analyzing big data to save time, money, and — ultimately — equipment. For example, instead of running a few generators at capacity, Caterpillar employees discovered that running more generators at a lower power level saved them over half a million dollars annually. The Caterpillar Asset Intelligence platform integrates data and analytics to provide customers with fuel savings and preventive maintenance suggestions that add up to significant savings over time.
Although Caterpillar largely operates within the manufacturing and construction space, its strategy can be directly applied to the oil and gas industry, where information gathered from large, complex equipment is absolutely critical to exploration and production operations. Employing a monitoring strategy anchored in IoT, for example, would improve the integrity and efficiency of performance data and help avoid costly shutdowns. But preventive maintenance isn’t the only way those in the oil industry can get at cost savings through data analysis.
It’s no secret oil and gas has seen a downturn in recent years. The addition of an improved, more innovative tech strategy has helped those in the business streamline processes and improve cash flow. Big data strategies in particular have been extremely effective for bottom lines, ultimately increasing profitability and helping companies to remain viable in a difficult market. In fact, Shell is already using big data to lower the cost of drilling as well as ensure machine efficiency through a “data-driven oilfield.”
Oil and gas may have been a little later to the game, but the reality is that oil and gas company leaders already overwhelmingly believe these new tech initiatives are valuable for the long-term, and most will continue to invest in big data, cloud, analytics, and the IoT to inevitably drive this industry in the near future.