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4 IoT Apps that Are Changing Energy, Oil, and Natural Gas Operations

The IoT is invading our lives. It’s in our homes, on our wrists, and in our appliances. But despite its prevalence in our personal lives, it’s businesses that are benefiting most from the IoT.

Every year, new IoT applications are developed for increasingly specialized purposes. The result is a diverse array of products and services that solve unique problems in many different industries.

What’s one of the first industries to be tackled? Energy, oil, and natural gas. Here are four highly specialized apps that are now available from large IoT providers. These apps are helping some companies save millions of dollars a year by increasing efficiency with predictive analytics and optimized operations.

1. Wind Farm Analytics

Compared to other energy sources, large-scale wind farms are fairly new. They’re still undergoing challenges with operations including a shortage of parts and skilled workers as well as environmental issues from weather and distance.

Wind farm analytics uses IoT technology to help management teams tackle these concerns. IoT sensors are installed in assets and connected to a central monitoring system. Real-time data from IoT devices, weather, and inventory is then combined to give managers a 360-degree view of their business.

Analytics tools then use machine learning to process the data, incorporating everything from worker skillsets to asset performance and weather in order to:

  • Increase efficiency by optimizing maintenance and crew schedules with regard to asset health, weather, and travel time
  • Reduce downtime with predictive maintenance that services assets when needed, not at predetermined intervals
  • Lower wind farm operating costs and improve generation revenue with more cost-effective, efficient operations

While new, IoT wind farm analytics applications are already in use in wind farms in the US and abroad. Those operators are already saving millions of dollars per year by reducing downtime and increasing efficiency.

2. IoT Asset Logistics and Monitoring

Using similar techniques as wind farm analytics, IoT asset logistics and monitoring software uses IoT sensors to track and evaluate assets in other energy fields.

Energy companies that use power restoration devices, temporary generators, and cable trailers that often need to be moved are prime candidates for asset logistics technology. In this case, IoT sensors are installed on any assets that are used in the fields. Sensors then keep a detailed record of what assets are moved by who, when, sending detailed reports back to a central system for monitoring.

Not only will the IoT sensors help keep a record of how assets are moved, they’ll also ensure that you always know where assets are. For companies managing large quantities of assets over large areas, that can save hours of time and effort when an accurate asset map is needed.

3. Electricity Distribution Analytics

Many utilities have already upgraded to smart grids that collect and analyze data more effectively, but forward-thinking utilities are also incorporating distribution analytics.

Distribution analytics is a next-gen IoT app that gives you the insight to plan, operate, and optimize a dynamic and bi-directional grid. Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) such as rooftop solar power, energy storage devices, electric vehicles, and demand response programs are all supported.

Since renewable energy sources are included, electricity distribution analytics helps utilities tackle the growing complexity of supply and demand caused by:

  • Growing use of residential solar power, energy efficiency and energy storage
  • Accelerating data volume and velocity
  • Financial and regulatory pressures to reduce CapEx and implement new business models

Using distribution analytics, you can accommodate all these pressures, reducing the possibility of large swings in transformer loading and voltage levels. The result is a safer, more reliable, and sustainable operation.

4. Natural Gas Intelligence

Natural gas intelligence is a highly specialized IoT technology designed for transmission and distribution companies. It uses data supplied from multiple, disparate data sources from operations, IT, and external sources such as weather, commodity prices, and social media.

The system correlates, analyzes, and visualizes multiple the data to give a complete view of natural gas assets and their health. When used in risk-based analysis and decision making, this information can:

  • Improve safety and reliability
  • Lower operating costs
  • Increase regulatory compliance
  • Optimize capital expenditure planning

Specialized IoT Energy Applications Improve Efficiency

Some of the biggest problems in the energy field are highly specialized. They’re concerns with natural gas assets that could pose a safety risk, or issues with integrating renewable power into already stressed electrical grids – all problems that rarely, if ever, occur in any other field.

With IoT technology, those problems are rapidly becoming less daunting. The quantity of data available from IoT devices makes gathering essential information easier than ever, and AI technology like machine learning makes processing that data far more attainable than it was in the past.

How will IoT technology transform your business?

Which IoT app will revolutionize your operation?

Case Study: IoT is redefining the customer experience. Nokia case study.

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