Wearable technology seems to be everywhere lately. According to statistics from the IHS and RockHealth.com, “the global wearables market was worth more than $2.5B in revenue in 2012 and is expected to cross $8B in 2018”. Wearables aren’t just for fitness -- the technology can be applied to a variety of industries. As the market continues to grow in value, many different types of organizations are trying to figure out where wearables can be applied to enhance the business. From hockey fans to police officers, it seems like there are a multitude of uses for this type of technology. For example, in Washington, D.C., some fans of the Washington Capitals hockey team got the chance to use Google Glass at a game in order to get instant statistics and replays. The technology helped fans keep up and not miss anything when they got up to buy food or drinks. APX Labs is the company providing the platform for this as well as for other areas such as the military, medical, security, industrial, logistics and transportation, energy and utilities, retail, and media and entertainment fields.
An interesting area to look at in terms of wearables is the oil and gas industry. Companies in the industry are already moving toward new technology in terms of drilling as well as through adopting things such as cloud computing, mobility, and knowledge management in order to increase efficiency. Since the industry can be competitive, oil and gas companies need to innovate and continue to adopt new technologies in order to keep up or stay ahead. In the oil and gas industry, wearable technology could be applied throughout many applications especially out in the field.
Geologists have the important job of determining where an exploration and production company should drill a well. When exploring for areas to drill, geologists could utilize wearable technology like Google Glass to overlay geological data while out on the field. In addition, geologists could mark prospective oil strike locations with the technology to analyze the areas more later. Besides Google Glass, other wearables like smart watches can be used to collect data from the field.
Rig and Equipment Maintenance
Another area that wearables could be applied is in rig and equipment maintenance. Since equipment can be very expensive, it’s important to maintain them in order to prevent huge costs for replacements and delays. Wearables can be useful in this area by helping floorhands, leasehands, roustabouts, and welders with equipment maintenance. They could use Google Glass to look at a piece of equipment or a rig to identify areas that need to be repaired. For example, wearable technology could detect variances and other abnormal activities to indicate that the equipment needs to be examined. Once issues have been identified, floorhands can use Google Glass to mark down the equipment that has been fixed, needs minor repairs, or requires additional assistance to fix, which saves time and duplicate work. With these markers, others can use wearable technology to find the equipment or rigs that need to be repaired and map out a route to repair everything in an efficient manner.
A major advantage that wearable technology brings to the oil field is the ability to view real-time information. Derrick hands, roustabouts, field engineers, and welders can easily see alerts and messages quickly and also monitor equipment on the field. In addition, they can take photos and videos with Google Glass to record information and report issues better. Wearable technology such as Google Glass will help field workers manage tasks and keep track of everything. In addition, it can warn workers of dangerous areas and emergencies in real-time, leading to less accidents. Wearable technology like Google Glass and smart watches also have the advantage of being hands-free devices to allow workers to control machines and do other things. All the information collected with wearable technology can be easily saved and sent over to a laptop to work on later.
According to Accenture, “Although smart glasses are an emerging technology, by 2017, according to one estimate, they may help save the field service industry US$1 billion every year”. As shown earlier, wearable technology can be applied in the oil and gas industry to further enhance efficiencies by helping out with exploration and equipment maintenance and viewing real-time information. Even though there are many potential uses of Google Glass, other technology such as smart watches, mobile devices, and iPads can help oil and gas companies continue to innovate and improve business processes. Wearable technology along with other mobile devices will make oil and gas companies more efficient, smarter, and safer, which makes the whole industry better.