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September 4, 2019

Oil and Gas industry looks to leverage benefits of wearable technology

The eventual goal is for the oil and gas sector to adopt lightweight, yet rugged wearable devices to improve safety and efficiency in oilfield operations.

By GlobalData Energy

GlobalData’s latest thematic report, ‘Wearable Tech in Oil & Gas’ says wearable technology is poised to bring productivity and workforce safety to the oil and gas industry.

Wearable tech is still in its infancy in the industrial space, and much of the developments today are largely catering to the consumer markets. However, oil and gas companies have started evaluating the possibilities of deploying wearable devices in day-to-day operations. Initial research is focused on enabling real-time monitoring of field technicians to ensure safety and providing them with audiovisual assistance in performing asset maintenance. The eventual goal is to adopt lightweight, yet rugged wearable devices to improve safety and efficiency in oilfield operations.

The major area of interest in wearable tech is its ability to free up the wearer’s hands, enabling him or her to perform tasks without any hindrance. Wearable devices can augment natural human capabilities, such as enhanced vision or smell (gas detection), thereby adding productivity and safety in oil field operations. These aspects of wearable tech are encouraging oil and gas companies to adopt helmets, smart glasses, wristbands, and other devices that incorporate technologies such as wireless connectivity, artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality (AR). 

Wearable technology has the potential to enhance workers’ efficiency and productivity in various ways. The technology can augment physical and cognitive processes through over-the-air support from experts located onshore. For example, a smart helmet mounted with a camera and earphone could make the field technician’s task easy by receiving additional support from onshore in real-time. Wearable technology also has the scope to deliver relevant information to field personnel to support spot decisions while reducing complexity. Adoption of this technology would give a competitive edge to companies by maximizing productivity.

In the oil and gas industry, BP and Shell, are among the leading adopters of wearable tech as well. Besides these, several other companies including, Saudi Aramco, Eni, Marathon Petroleum, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Baker Hughes, Schlumberger, and NOV have also started incorporating wearable tech in their operations.

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