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Industrial IoT maturing rapidly in oil and gas through COVID crisis

Industrial IoT maturing rapidly in oil and gas through COVID crisis

New research by Inmarsat reveals a rapid increase in the maturity level of the industrial Internet of Things (IoT) across the oil and gas sector since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. Respondents, including exploration, extraction and distribution businesses, reported that Covid-19 has demonstrated the importance of IoT to their businesses, with many accelerating IoT deployments in response to the pandemic.

According to the research, adoption has seen huge progress from 2020 to 2021. 74 per cent of oil and gas respondents have now fully deployed at least one IoT project, with 44 per cent having achieved this in the twelve month period from the second quarter of 2020. Of the remaining 26 per cent of oil and gas respondents that have not yet adopted IoT in any form, 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 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 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, 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.

Commenting on this acceleration of IoT in the oil and gas sector, Damian Lewis, Market Development at Inmarsat said, "The oil and gas sector has a history of innovation, and our 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. 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."

Commenting on the research, 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. 

"While our 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."

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