Sep 22, 2021

IoT adoption grows in utilities and oil and gas - Inmarsat

Energy
IIoT
Technology
research
Dominic Ellis
4 min
New Inmarsat research shows 74% of oil and gas respondents and 80% of utilities have now fully deployed at least one IoT project

A survey of oil and gas firms found 74% have deployed at least one IoT project and the 26% who haven't adopted it are either currently trialling it, or plan to deploy or trial at least one IoT project in the next two years, according to new Inmarsat research.

A further 81 per cent of oil and gas respondents indicated they have, or they intend to accelerate, the adoption of IoT in response to challenges related to Covid-19.

This figure includes 51 per cent who have already accelerated IoT adoption to respond to Covid-19, versus 17 per cent who will accelerate over the next twelve months and 13 per cent who will accelerate beyond the next 12 months.

The 51 per cent are less likely to state that Covid-19 has negatively impacted their ability to operate, demonstrating a link between IoT and business continuity during the pandemic. Additionally, over half (52 per cent) of respondents in the sector indicated that business and operational challenges related to Covid-19 have underlined the importance of IoT.

Just under half (49 per cent) have a formal IoT strategy in place, the highest proportion of any of the sectors surveyed.

Damian Lewis, Market Development at Inmarsat, said the oil and gas sector has a history of innovation, and its research reveals that the pace of IoT adoption in the industry has significantly increased as a result of the pandemic.

"The sector is now relatively advanced in its adoption of IoT, demonstrating the importance businesses are attributing to the technology as a way to respond to both Covid-19 and wider industry challenges," he said.

"In a sector where so much activity takes place in some of the world’s most remote and inhospitable conditions, this accelerating rate of IoT adoption reflects the need that oil and gas businesses have to increase their ability to monitor, manage and automate remotely.”

Mike Carter, President of Inmarsat Enterprise, said the rapid increase in IoT deployments over the last few years highlights the considerable progress global industry has made to overcome some of the world’s most challenging forces.

"It is particularly interesting, though logical, that Covid-19 has further catalysed businesses to increase their reliance on Industry 4.0 technologies, and particularly the industrial Internet of Things, in order to maintain business continuity. Those businesses implementing IoT technologies ahead of their competition and across their value chains are those who stand to win in the long-term," he said.

While its findings point to IoT driving significant uplifts in efficiency, sustainability and safety across global supply chains, there are areas where organisations can make improvements to draw the optimum benefits from the technology.

Connectivity, data management, skills shortages, security threats and investment levels remain challenges as the world’s production and supply chains become increasingly digitalised and intertwined.

More utilities embrace IoT

Four-fifths (80 per cent) of electrical utilities respondents have now fully deployed at least one IoT project, with 42 per cent having achieved this in the year from Q2 2020, according to Inmarsat research.

Of the remaining 20 per cent of electrical utilities respondents that have not yet fully adopted IoT solutions, all of them are either currently trialling it, or plan to deploy or trial at least one IoT project in the next two years.

A further 84 per cent of electrical utilities respondents indicated they have or they intend to accelerate the adoption of IoT in response to challenges related to Covid-19.

This figure includes 48 per cent who have already accelerated IoT adoption to respond to Covid-19, versus 24 per cent who will accelerate over the next twelve months and 12 per cent who will accelerate beyond the next 12 months.

The 48 per cent that have already accelerated IoT adoption are less likely to state that Covid-19 has negatively impacted their ability to operate, demonstrating a link between IoT and business continuity during the pandemic. Additionally, nearly half (48 per cent) of respondents in the sector indicated that business and operational challenges related to Covid-19 have underlined the importance of IoT.

Lewis said as with all industries, Covid-19 has served to accelerate digital transformation and IoT adoption across the electrical utilities sector.

"Lockdowns due to the pandemic in 2020 caused electrical consumption in many parts of the world to drop by 20 per cent from 2019 levels before they came back to pre-Covid levels as societies opened up again," he said. "While residential energy demand increased, it did not counterbalance the drop in demand in factories, offices, and other commercial locations. This period was unexpected and unprecedented and has underlined to energy producers and distributors the importance of being able to effectively monitor and control their operations remotely and autonomously.”

Inmarsat states its global ELERA network is inspiring "new possibilities and enabling organisations from all sectors to access IoT anywhere". 

Share article