I attended several large industry events in September – World Energy Congress in Abu Dhabi, GasTech in Houston, and Baker Hughes’ UNIFY digital conference in Monaco – and it’s amazing to me how all the customers I meet have similar needs and opportunities. While some regions have specific requests more than others, it is clear to me that several trends have emerged in the energy industry that will drive our work in 2020.
Our team at Baker Hughes’ Measurement & Controls business is always striving to be the partner of choice for our customers, and that means we need to deliver on what the industry needs today AND tomorrow above all else.
Below are the top five trends for 2020 I’ve gathered from my notes.
1. Digital Transformation must be a cultural transformation. We’ve heard of digital transformation for years now, and while the technology has been getting stronger and stronger, the industry needs to have a culture of adoption to ensure success. At UNIFY, I spoke to many customers and partners who want to “go digital” but they need help with implementation and scaling of all the technologies available today.
There are partnerships, such as BakerHughesC3.ai, that can ‘connect the dots’ by taking the hundreds of edge devices collecting data and turning into insights, making operations more efficient, safe and profitable. By taking it a step further and making digital a part of our day-to-day culture in the workforce, we can see even more results.
2. Cyber security will become a non-negotiable for hardware + software. No longer are we living in a world where only software needs cyber protection, but hardware now will require cyber security features too. Hardware may not be as obvious a risk for cyber security, but we are seeing that physical design, foreign object insertion (ex: USB drives) and remote management of industrial hardware is an increasing concern in the energy segment. Our Bently Nevada Orbit 60 Series was designed this way, and the trend will continue.
3. From monitoring to predictive analytics. We already have great edge devices being connected to the cloud, consistently pulling data and storing it to monitor assets each day. I mentioned partnerships like BakerHughesC3.ai already, and we need to use these to go further and take data used for monitoring and convert it into predictive analytics. With active AI instead of passive monitoring, we can help operators get to zero errors, zero misses, and zero missed opportunities to run better.
4. A lower carbon future must be tackled by multiple angles. One device, process or team cannot solve this alone for the world’s energy companies, we can be more effective with a combination of methods working together. This is a classic “sum is greater than the parts” scenario we should not ignore. By pairing edge devices like Flare.IQ with advanced software dashboards, we can get to net-zero faster. if we can add my first trend above (digital cultural transformation) to our teams in addition to technologies, imagine how fast we could go.
5. Industry 4.0 (Fourth Industrial Revolution) is a buzzword we will hear more and more, and it offers the opportunity to apply disruptive digital technology to the oil and gas industry. Currently we provide sensor and measurement technologies to a host of different industries outside of oil and gas including automotive, aerospace, manufacturing, power generation, renewable energy, and electronics, so we can take all our knowledge and use it with oil & gas more effectively.
I’d like to hear your thoughts. What other trends should we be approaching as we enter 2020?