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Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Energy Industry 4.0: Extreme Transformation Opens Extreme Opportunities

Industry 4.0 has arrived in the energy industry. Just how does the extreme digitalization, monitoring, and assessment of seemingly everything  affect the people who now tend to all aspects of the business?  What will project managers, financial professionals, data scientists, geologists, engineers, geophysicists, and other energy professionals do? What are some of the knowledge bases they will need? What are the skill sets, and where should they gain experience? 

The energy industry will strategically update content and objectives to reflect current business practices, environments, tools, and needs. It will need to conduct continuous needs assessments for Energy Industry 4.0.

Part of this group of skills will involve re-envisioning everything, which requires having the courage to do so.  We need to look at the evolution of incumbent products, as well as the emerging “upstart” disrupters.  It is important to re-envision the macro view as well as the micro views.

Make the invisible visible: reveal the underlying reality:  One of the key benefits of artificial intelligence and machine learning is pattern recognition, which is not a static thing, but constantly evolving and “learning” as more information is added.

It is important to keep in mind that in addition to technological advances, there will be displacements and unintended consequences. Part of the challenge involves social responsibility in order to consider how human capital should be developed to retrain people whose professions become disrupted. Social responsibility also takes into consideration the natural environment, habitats, and lowering the negative impact of human activity.

Managing the Digital Economy:  How is managing the digital economy different than an organization where everyone is onsite? The workforce is distributed, now more than ever, and learning how to use productivity tools in a collaborative environment. Keeping the projects on task are more critical than ever.
  •     Large, decentralized organizations
  •     Collaboration and independent work in the Gig economy
  •     Project Management strategies and platforms
  •     Looking at all applications in “off-label” ways

Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning: AI and ML apply to all phases of the industry, and the challenge is not “if” or “when” but how much is relevant, and how do we clean up data without introducing our own biases? In addition, privacy and cybersecurity issues must be kept in mind.     
  • Strategic Planning
  • Risk Mitigation / Risk Seeking
  •     Predictive analytics
  •     Deep Neural Networks / Pattern recognition
Big Data Archiving and Continuous Data Gathering: The ability to store and retrieve staggering amounts of data creates opportunities that were simply not possible before. As unstructured data such as old scans of reports is converted into easily analyzable structured data, even more opportunities emerge. It is now possible, for example, to do a deep dive into old well logs, well reports, and more and look for overlooked zones or under-produced ones.
  •     Internet of Things, Industrial Internet of Things
  •     Cloud Computing
Virtual Supply Chains in Energy: Logistics have become very important in times of multiple long laterals in large  shale plays. The same can be said for the coordination required in offshore exploration and production operations. Challenges include security, being able to transfer money efficiently, and
  • Block Chain technologies for supply chain
  • Special challenges with different types of energy (oil and gas, wind, solar, geothermal)
FinTech:  Finance technologies are just emerging, and they will dramatically change how organizations can manage cash, obtain capital, and distribute information. Although cryptocurrencies and digital currencies may be looked upon as a bit unsavory, banks are already utilizing the technology to make their record-keeping more secure, and to facilitate transfers, especially across borders.
  • Digital Currency
  • RoboAdvisors
  • New sources of capital, investment
  • Start-ups and commercialization
Digital Ecosystems: You may be familiar with the way that Craigslist has essentially fragmented and instead of being a “one-stop shopping” platform for advertising, the different topics and products have evolved into their own niche applications. One good example is AirBnB – now, the products are arranged by category (rentals) rather than being geographically grouped (as in the case of Craigslist). The evolutionary cycles are accelerating, and now one has to look at platforms as apps with a clearly finite life cycles, unless they metamorphose into something else.
  •     Platform Life Cycles
  •     Crowd Sourcing / Social networks
Digital Infrastructure: Each quantum leap of bandwidth and computational ability is accompanied by a quantum leap in the capabilities of the applications and the devices themselves. How does one take advantage of the power? And, how does one anticipate changes?
  •     Current state and how to optimize networks
  •     WiFi and G5: What does it mean? What are the hidden costs?
  •     Future directions, and where we are going.
Social Enterprise
    Innovative new technologies that have as a goal to measurably improve the physical environment as well as the social structure, with more opportunities for voices to be heard, and to strive toward the goal of eliminating social and economic inequality, and truly giving everyone a chance to have a productive, meaningful life with a strong social support system.

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