- By Roland Plett
- IIoT Insight
“Remote asset operations” was seen as the highest return on investment out of all 10 use cases described in a 2020 survey by JWN Energy. The Digital Oilfield Report that published these findings goes on to identify “remote asset inspection” and “remote asset monitoring” to be the second and third choice by survey respondents.
A few years ago, everyone believed the way to achieve remote operations was in an integrated remote operations center (iROC). All the expensive and hard-to-get experts would make that their primary workplace and they could apply their expertise across all assets without the need for frequent travel.
The iROC has definitely proven to be useful in a number of ways. Oilman magazine published the following list of iROC achievements:
- Reduced the likelihood of events that cause non-productive time
- Reduced costs by improving operational efficiency
- Helped operators gain a better understanding of complex well sites
- Used advances in technology to obtain 3-D visualization and improved models
- Prevented wellbore collisions
- Increased effectiveness of drilling operations
Over the last few years, we’ve learned to operate more effectively from a home environment, which has opened a new train of thought for many operators. Can our experts be anywhere? If all the operating tools can be put in a remote operations center, can they also be accessed from a laptop or mobile device anywhere an expert happens to be?
In many ways, this concept of hybrid work that we’ve learned about during COVID applies to remote operations as well.
Operators continue to struggle with achieving remote operations in an operations center without even considering wide deployment of the hybrid work scenario from anywhere. The good news is, companies like Cisco have an ecosystem of partners that can collectively deliver a remote operation center experience, as well as a full hybrid work experience. Here are a few key elements to consider.
Actionable data. Remote work depends on accurate data and insights from remote assets. Somehow, this data must be reliably acquired and transported to where artificial intelligence (AI) engines can consume it and provide insights. After that, the insights need to be delivered to decision makers. This data movement is essential.
Cisco’s industrial network portfolio of switches, routers, and wireless access points are capable of acquiring and processing data at the edge as required. In most cases, this data will also be transported back to a central data store for processing. A variety of validated designs meet specific industry specifications, as well as a variety of service level requirements. This ensures the data reaches the intended destination while keeping with business requirements.
Secure remote access. Most modern assets are capable of remote management when connections are available. Partners understand the security requirements of industrial environments, including oil and gas sites. Cisco’s validated designs for secure access comply with industry standards and ensure remote experts are able to access assets without compromising cybersecurity requirements of regulators and corporate security frameworks.
The oil and gas industry has identified remote operations as a key requirement for efficient, safe, and sustainable operation in the future. A broad ecosystem of products and partners can deliver validated remote access solutions and make data available to the systems and decision makers that need it. And it can be done anywhere they happen to be.
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