Top Digital Transformation Trends for Energy and Utilities

By CIOReview | Monday, July 15, 2019

As they steer through the fast-evolving environment, oil and gas companies are continuing their digital transformation journeys with a view to drive growth, productivity, efficiency, and safety across their operations. As the industry’s adoption of technologies continues to advanced, their efforts to explore and forge new business models has also developed accordingly.

FREMONT, CA: Oil and gas companies worldwide are going through a widespread change. On the one hand, the considerable price volatility as shifting geopolitical dynamics sees the supply-and-demand equations diverge in various geographies, and on the other, it is necessary to comply with increasing environmental regulations designed to support de-carbonization. Meanwhile, an escalating inclination for oil and gas companies is to create partnerships and collaborative arrangements in areas like supply chain integration, logistics, trading, and payments.

Four key technology trends that play a significant role in shaping enterprises’ strategies for delivering growth against the technological background are:

1. The Rise of the “Cloud-First” Strategy:

Most oil and gas firms are now moving to cloud-based platforms where they can congregate their business applications associated with areas like sub-surface, land, and production systems. Any innovation or workload projects are mostly being taken up in the cloud, where IT-enabled infrastructure management administers data interfacing, on-premise legacy systems, and security management. The sector is expecting ever greater control and self-sufficiency to be provided by applications using AI and analytics within a couple of years.

2. Digital Representation of Physical Assets:

“Digital twin” and asset performance management (APM) programs are set to unite, driving the development of innovative solutions for managing vital resources across upstream and downstream operations. As companies’ advance to asset management comes to focus increasingly on risk and reliability, long-term programs and initiatives are being launched to ingest, manage, and interpret asset operational data and performance key performance indicators (KPIs) in real-time.

3. Adoption of IoT Devices and Edge Computing:

Oil fields will continue to increase their acceptance of sophisticated sensors, with a hefty proportion of the resultant data being collected from edge computing devices. New data interface protocols are created to enable the data to be shared and synergized on the IoT platforms.

4. Renewed Focus on Data Technologies:

Today, AI systems and business analytics are scaling rapidly, with accessibility to historical labeled data for model testing and training. Within a few years, assets maintenance decisions will be made by AI bots and operators with minimal to no human intervention. Applications employing Blockchain technology are gaining momentum in oil and gas companies based on data governance that the IT department administers. As technological trends play out for oil and gas companies, they will help to influence innovations in many areas of the business.

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