Gas and Petroleum: A Case Study of How the IoT Evolves Whole Industries

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Oil Worker and TabletThe Internet of Things, or IoT, has been called the nervous system for the planet. It’s affecting how we interact with our machines, each other and companies; or should I say how our machines interact with us, each other and companies? Already nearly 5 billion connected things are in use, and by 2020 that number will be 25 billion. Look up the meaning of exponential, you just might see mention of the IoT when the word is used in a sentence.

Internet of Things: an industry case study

Even gas and petroleum – seemingly one of the most “old school” industries – is evolving to take advantage of new IoT-enabled innovations.

Innovation in this sector is competitive, and the companies that best harness and take advantage of the IoT first will have a competitive advantage. Thus, energy companies are using information technology to expand production of increasingly scarce resources in ever-more remote environments. As a result, the energy sector was an early adopter of networked sensors, which allows technicians to monitor remote locations while bringing data into localized databases.

According to Cisco, which is making a big play in IoT applications for the energy sector, these applications can automate dangerous tasks such as high-pressure testing, while allowing for the remote monitoring of operations in distant or harsh environments. They can minimize downtime by letting experts respond to problems virtually instead of getting on a helicopter.
Download our white paper, “Integrating IT & Engineering to Fuel Product Innovation.”

IoT operational benefits

But even more benefit can come from digitizing operations. Using a standards-based connectivity platform and IoT infrastructure, oil and gas companies can improve collaboration among partners and make the supply chain more efficient. They can also gain new kinds of business intelligence to aid in planning, business modeling safety.

To serve this market, Rockwell Automation is providing managed monitoring and support services for the energy industry, specifically. Based on Microsoft’s IoT platform, Rockwell says it’s building its own reservoir of data and finding unanticipated kinds of value in it. For example, Rockwell customer Hilcorp Energy Company upgraded equipment for its Alaskan oil-drilling platforms with Rockwell submersible pumps. The pumps’ electrical, variable-speed drives are connected to the cloud, so they can be monitored continuously from the company’s command room in Cleveland, Ohio.

Rockwell engineers analyze data from the sensors in real time to ensure that equipment is performing within its specified parameters. They’re also on the lookout for alerts from the system.

The IoT and Petroleum Engineers

When it comes to the labor market for petroleum engineers, this is one of the two fastest-growing fields, according to EMSI – and it also has an aging workforce, with 25 percent of those currently employed aged 55 and over. The labor shortage will likely get worse, according to EMSI, because fewer undergraduates are studying petroleum engineering. In 2013, EMSI tracked just 1,600 hires, compared to its yearly job openings estimate of 3,500.

Learn more about IoT product innovation

Download our white paper, “Integrating IT & Engineering to Fuel Product Innovation.” You’ll get insight into how the IoT – with big data – is revolutionizing the careers of both engineers and programmers, with insight into:

  • Managing a cross-functional team comprised of engineers and IT experts
  • Determining key hires to support engineering/IT collaboration
  • Hiring leadership with the right soft skills to maximize new IoT teams

Download our white paper, “Integrating IT & Engineering to Fuel Product Innovation.”


Anne Shaw is the Lead Generation & Attraction Sr. Marketing Manager for Adecco Staffing, USA. Her background includes public relations, brand development and event planning. When not having a blast at the office, Anne can be found initiating dance parties with her adorable children and dashing husband.