There is a major shift occurring in the oil and gas industry. This shift is being driven by two of the hottest buzzwords in technology today: Internet of Things (IoT) and big data analytics.

First, let’s define what these technologies are. Internet of Things (IoT) is the amount of items that are connected to the Internet – which is about to skyrocket. In many cases, these devices are tiny, inexpensive sensors that report information back to large data collectors. The data can be for maintenance reasons or to improve performance.

Big data analytics is the use of advanced analytic techniques against very large, diverse data sets that include different types such as structured/unstructured and streaming/batch, and different sizes from terabytes to zettabytes. Big data is a term applied to data sets whose size or type is beyond the ability of traditional relational databases to capture, manage, and process the data with low-latency. And it has one or more of the following characteristics – high volume, high velocity, or high variety. Big data comes from sensors, devices, video/audio, networks, log files, transactional applications, web, and social media – much of it generated in real time and in a very large scale.

Gartner predicts that there will be 6.4 billion devices connected to the Internet by the end of 2016. They will be joined by 5.5 million new devices every day. These sensors could be items in your home, including your coffee maker. The larger application of IoT is in the corporate world.

For oil and gas businesses, there is data generated by all of the devices, control systems, sensors, SCADA, networks, applications and end users connected by industrial networks. With advances in sensors, the amount of data points has escalated so much that it now requires a new way to analyze that data. That is driving the advancement in big data analytics. Now, sensors can make it into many other applications. Big data analytics can be used to improve and streamline transportation, refinement, and distribution of oil and gas. Data gathered from a drill-bit or a reservoir might provide information that can save millions in production costs if it can be analyzed and combined with other data sources.

These insights are invaluable to the industry – especially during times of reduced oil prices and increases in competition. Now is the time to start preparing to ensure you are ready to take advantage of the tangible benefits that you can gain by leveraging machine data and the IoT.

Data Quality and Governance

Getting the most from data and making accurate decisions starts with quality data. All of the analytics in the world won’t matter if the data at the core is inaccurate.

The data also needs to be opened up to all in the organization who could benefit from it. Data traditionally resides in silos by department. That has to open up to take full advantage of analytics. You may learn that production and distribution are asking the same questions. Their data, when combined, could lead to millions in cost savings.

Departments also need to be educated on the use of big data. Show them what big data problems actually are and how they can go about solving them.

Predictive Analytics

The cost benefits created through big data analytics extends to just about any industry. If an asset such as a crane could predict when it was going to have a failure, maintenance could be scheduled in advance at a convenient time. This saves on maintenance costs, as well as improves productivity.

For a big data analytics project to benefit an organization, it needs to be data-driven, be actionable, and generate a monetary impact.

To learn how big data analytics and the expanded use of IoT can be used to improve your business and gain a competitive edge, schedule a meeting with one of our oil and gas data analytics experts today.