4. Mine operational data
If connected machines — the primary components of the Internet of Things (IoT) — are to be the backbone of industry in the near future, industrial manufacturers will have to figure out how to manage the data coming from an avalanche of sensors, integrated equipment and platforms, and faster information processing systems. There is a critical need to hire people who can mine these bits and bytes of information and work more closely with customers to use the data to improve equipment performance and open new revenue streams. Indeed, the anticipated efficiency returns from digitization over the next five years across all major industrial sectors are substantial: nearly 3 percent in additional revenue and 3.6 percent in reduced costs per year, according to a recent PwC survey of companies. By proactively leading the digitization effort, industrial manufacturers can earn a growing portion of these gains.
Facing a climate of depressed prices, oil and gas companies are good illustrators of the potential for these improved returns. Instead of building a new well — not viable in the current market — they can squeeze greater production out of existing sites by using more efficient digital control systems and sensor-fed data (such as data on pressure, temperature, and flow rates) to manage the wells more effectively. One drill manufacturer has been helping its customers — chemical plants, oil refineries, and other process manufacturers — operate their plants more effectively by leveraging IoT in the form of wireless drill sensors, which can detect potential failures in valves before they lead to a spill or shutdown. In the past, installing drill sensors to capture critical data was a lengthy and expensive process because it required running a wire down into the wellhead. This new technology makes it easier to safely capture, monitor, and analyze this constantly changing data in real time, enabling oil and gas companies to save millions by reducing the number of unforeseen outages by half, and increasing crude output by as much as 10 percent.