We are entering a new era of industrial technology for the oil and gas industry. While this revolution in technology is exciting, it is fair to be frustrated that it took this long to get here. As we move into the new era of technology, it is important to note why these changes are happening now and how they will affect the industrial sector going forward.
Why? The Old Tech Wasn’t Working
At home, we have the best technology at our fingertips. We can tap a button on our phone to turn on the lights, you can see and talk to the delivery person through your doorbell, and we can summon personal drivers to pick us up with a few taps on our phone. The advancements made over the last few years are incredible.
Take a minute and think about how easy and convenient the technology we use at home is. Does that same comfort and ease-of-use hold up to the technology you use at work? Unfortunately, the answer is probably no.
The problem with a lot of the available technology is that it was built in the early 2000s (aka the dot-com boom) and hasn’t innovated much since then. This means that many software solutions just give you access to a database of information, without much thought put into making it easy to use—let alone improving the technology so you can do more with it. As a result, these applications often feel archaic and clunky—and even worse, many are slow, bloated, and hard to use.
As Lance Richardson, Co-founder of FieldEye writes:
“Folks in the industrial sector are some of the most tenacious people you’ll ever meet. No matter the obstacles thrown at them, they’ll find a way to get to the finish line. So when something isn’t working for us, we’ll find a way through, around, or over it no matter the cost.
But that doesn’t mean we should settle for the status quo.”
So, it’s about time for a new era of technology to replace the traditional solutions.
How? New Tech Capabilities
The new technology coming to the industrial sector isn’t just an isolated occurrence. Every industry (and the tech we use at home) has advanced because of Industry 4.0 capabilities. Industry 4.0 is the current industrial revolution spurred on by the advancements in technology. Similar to how steam power was the driver behind the first industrial revolution, or how the assembly line and electricity caused the second, the ability to connect the physical to the digital world has created new possibilities in the way we work and live.
When connections between the digital and physical worlds are applied to bigger concepts in the oil and gas industry, we see:
- Automation of tedious tasks. Automation can help with energy management, the ability to quote the best price on rental equipment, robotic capabilities, predictive equipment maintenance, operational efficiency, and so much more.
- Increased connection and control. Through Industry 4.0 advancements, you have access to every connected source and the data that comes with it. This data helps solidify a proper decision-making process, increase efficiency, and improve operations.
- Offloading manual tasks. Industry 4.0 technology also helps humans offload tedious, difficult, or even unsafe tasks to technology.
Beyond Industry 4.0
While the new era of technology is built on Industry 4.0 capabilities, there is more to it than just increased functionality. The key to powerful and capable industrial technology is the “consumerization” of industrial tech. This means that technology is developed with the user in mind at every step, on top of necessary functionality—just how consumer technology (Amazon, Uber, etc) is created. It’s proactive, easy-to-use, and if done right, it makes you feel superhuman.
Overall, a great technology solution needs to provide you with convenience—meaning that it’s a simple solution for a task or process you’re already doing. And the solution also needs to provide comfort—meaning it’s intuitive and easy-to-use for any “skill” level, whether you’re the first in line for the new iPhone or proudly rocking a flip phone.
Tech made correctly truly makes our work lives easier and frees up the time and energy to refocus it in the right places. If your current solution is not functional, convenient, and comfortable, it’s time for an upgrade.
What the New Era of Tech Means for Oil and Gas
Oil and gas companies can experience incredible benefits as industrial technology is spurred forward by increased capabilities and consumerization. Whether it is offloading tedious manual tasks, making processes more efficient, or helping workers reach maximum potential, the new era of industrial tech will bring a new level of productivity, convenience, and comfort to the world of oil and gas.