How can oil and gas leaders leverage the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) to show measurable business impacts around technology? The industry is finding unique ways to use the IIoT to its true advantage, but many companies have doubts about the process. E&P recently visited with Peter Zornio, chief strategic officer at Emerson Automation Solutions, to discuss IIoT trends in the oil and gas industry.
E&P: What do you see taking place in the industry?
Zornio: I think that maybe we have a little different perspective than a lot of other people when we talk about the IIoT. We view it as more of an evolution. A lot of people talk about it like some wonderful thing that was just discovered two or three years ago, whereas for us it is a digital transformation that’s been occurring in the industry for quite some time now. It might be dramatically hastened by the increased emphasis on decreasing operating costs that the big drop in price has brought over the last three or four years, but in general we’ve always used the term, and a lot of the majors have been doing what we call internal IoT [Internet of Things] for a long time.
When you talk about IIoT, there are two broad categories that people think of. One is Big Data and analytics. The other one is this idea of outsourced service or centralizing domain expertise and functions and supporting multiple sites, whether it’s platforms or fields.
Customers have been doing it internally. They’re doing it with the ‘intranet of things’ inside of their own fleets, fields or facilities. They’ve centralized their own domain expertise, built up monitoring centers, built up reliability centers and pulled people out of the field to do cost reduction. It’s an ongoing trend digitalization and automation of field facilities that results in fewer guys driving around in pickup trucks.