General Electric (GE) has always embraced innovation and we will continue to integrate advanced technology in our operations.
At GE we embraced technology and our strategy should allow us to focus on getting out more of the technology we already have in place by enhancing the current technical and mechanical features to ensure that we continue being industry leaders. The data element of the Internet of Everything is the area that GE must improve the most on by taking advantage of connected technologies. By incorporating the Internet of Everything component in our IT strategy. A recent survey from Cisco showed that to maximise operational efficiency oil and gas businesses should consider the ‘data deluge’ which has been created by the Internet of Everything phenomenon (Cisco, 2017). Improved drilling technology has significantly benefited both the efficiency and production aspect, a few years ago to produce oil from a well would have taken as much as over nine months to produce but with increased digitalisation it can now be done within 30 days Wroldsen and Hege, (2017). GE is in a unique position as we can take advantage of the opportunity to combine drilling technology advances with digital Internet of Everything driven technologies which have the potential to take our operational efficiency to a higher level for example this can further improve oil recovery rates, reduce oil spillage and increase employee productivity (Forbes.com, 2017).
The future for the GE oil and gas division looks bright, we are industry leaders in a unique position, we can make IT services a commodity in the organisation which can lead to a reduction in cost and improved operations (Inc.com, 2017). At GE we have already digitised a large majority of our operation by incorporating high level sensors which can predict and detect any issues or faults with machines and computer systems before they even occur however now we need to shift our focus on the other areas of the Internet of Everything component which is data to receive the maximum benefits from our daily operations. Just like other industries, the oil and gas sector is overloaded with large quantities of data, the majority of which is produced by the sensors and computer systems set up throughout the value chain. As a result, there is no real smooth flow of information about GE’s assets that travels to different departments (Economist.
com, 2017). GE should consider connecting our IT infrastructure and architecture to various sophisticated cloud servicing models. By adopting these cloud service models, various GE can reduce the frequent challenges linked with the software at oil plants and offers the ability to provide underlying infrastructure for applications including oil wells and remote locations on land and offshore. In addition, by putting data in the cloud GE can continue adopting digital technology in our daily operations and can enhance GE’s ability to handle large amounts of data and manage remote offshore oil teams (DU Press, 2017). Cloud computing can be beneficial for collaboration amongst GE departments, oil teams and GE executives can securely exchange information regarding oil reservoir, geological data, simulations and other important information without consulting the e-mail system. Other companies such as Siemens and Tullow Oil have recently incorporated cloud computing in their daily operations and GE should not be left behind.
In addition, with the rise of the ‘Internet of Things’ most oil equipment is now either connected to networks or can be tracked using connected devices, cloud software can track and trace these assets and know exactly where to send certain equipment (Accenture.com, 2017). If GE chooses to strategically embrace cloud computing, then this can allow GE executives to deploy the infrastructure needed for further mergers and ventures with software companies such as IBM and Microsoft thereby enhancing our competitiveness.
In addition, another up and coming technological solution that we could incorporate into our daily operations at GE is augmented reality software. Augmented reality technology can be used a workforce training method as employees working in the oil fields can receive either one- to- one or group coaching sessions by professionals in locations from all over the world. This can maximise GE’s maintenance efficiency especially in reference to assets in remote environments and also adopt an innovative method to train our workforce in the form of augmented reality applications (McKinsey & Company, 2017).
Drones can be useful for gas operations and offshore, this can not only enhance GE’s efficiency due to lower costs but also increase mobility for example GE can use drones to inspect offshore oil equipment in remote areas. The drones can fly near offshore oil rigs and can detect and send real-time alerts including a 360-degree aerial view, images and videos to workers on the oil rig. This can eliminate the need for the physical presence of GE employees at oil rigs for inspection purposes (Ranger, 2017). Drones can also be utilised to prevent the likelihood oil spills and equipment damage.
Drones can be attached with sensors that can in real time detect and measure the level of oil spills and calculate how quickly the oil is spreading (Information Age, 2017). This can allow the GE response teams to efficiently get to the root of the spill and decrease the recovery time. In remote offshore locations, gas emissions can be hard to detect, however GE can manage and identify gas leaks efficiently with the sensors attached on drones thereby decreasing inspection costs and in turn making the environment much safer for the employees (ETEnergyworld.com, 2017).
There are numerous safety concerns for GE workers who operate in the oil rigs due to the hazards involved. To enhance the safety of these workers, GE should look to implement augmented reality integrated headsets that can enable a virtual path for employees to follow during an emergency. This advanced technology should be able to identify where the threats are and provide GE workers with the safest and secure path displayed on the worker’s headset.
GE could look to further enhance employee safety by implementing GPS in the headsets, as a result this will allow GE departments the ability to calculate the precise number of crew members that have left the oilfields safely but also give GE the ability to track down the location of crew members who need to be rescued (Digitalist Magazine, 2017). GE should continue embedding 3D printing in our daily operations. We have previously used 3D printing when we developed our ‘NovaLT16’ gas turbine however this is something we should consider using more often for certain tasks.
3D printing can allow the GE oil and gas division to become more competitive and gain efficiency across the value chain. 3D printing can speed up product development due to its quick prototyping nature, GE can develop and validate designs for new equipment for example new LEAP engines (EY, 2017). The GE oil and gas division often work in remote locations and the cost of storing and maintaining assets offshore can be a costly and time-consuming task, however if GE workers had access to on-site 3D printing then they can produce only the necessary parts and equipment needed for the job thereby reducing logistical costs. Therefore, printing on demand cuts costs usually associated with holding inventory in GE warehouses and cutting costs used to acquire inventory especially in remote offshore areas. Moreover, 3D printing can provide GE the capability of replacing faulty rare equipment that is usually difficult to acquire or out of production (Carbon, 2017).