Below is a snippet from an article written by us for a leading oil and gas pipeline publication:
There are striking similarities between the pre-dot com period and today. That is not to suggest now is the time to contemplate a new stock market boom. Mobile resembles what was then the Internet; much discussed, used en-masse by consumers, watched but yet to be widely adopted by business. In this article we will discuss mobile; demystify, look at current practices in the pipeline sector and how mobile can potential improve process and efficiency.
Mobile Technology – Regulations and Improved Efficiency
The pipeline industry is undergoing change. With the Deep Water Horizon accident and San Bruno pipeline explosion, greater regulation is now in place. This demands more frequent and greater volumes of data collection. A set of processes need be in place to ensure pipes are in good working order. Audits are done against these processes and the data collected, so records need to be complete (without gaps), easily accessed and accurate. More frequent pipe tests need to be run, looking for corrosion etc. If issues are found, records of what was found and how resolved are critical. High consequence areas such as neighborhoods, built around pipes, are locations of particular focus.
Another pipeline trend is the reduction in workers per facility. It is no longer the case that one worker handles 50 wells. There is greater pressure on fewer staff to maintain operations.
Increased regulation and reductions in staffing demands improved processes and efficiency. New mobile technology has the potential to help in both areas. Using custom apps on mobile devices which provide the potential for text, image, video and voice input, which utilize accurate GPS data, and can upload this data instantaneously to a central server, will provide potentially huge cost savings.
Summarizing some of the advantages of mobile technology:
A) Data collection – Improved accuracy using a single device with multiple media data collection options (text, images, video, and voice).
B) Centralized storage – The ability to upload data directly from a device and store it centrally on a company server. With easily accessed, searchable databases containing complete records, future regulatory audits will be considerable easier.
C) Simplified workflows – Cheap to build, simple to use, easy to train employees on usage.
D) Customizing and extending apps – Beyond old style canned mobile popular on rugged devices. The new breed of mobile apps can be built and extended based on changing requirements.
E) Cost savings – Hardware and software.
F) Accuracy improvements – GPS and timestamp.