Until recently, the workers who maintain pump jacks for energy firm EEC recorded oil production at the company's 40 wells by scribbling figures into notebooks, transferring the data to paper forms and mailing the documents to the head office in Norman, Oklahoma. There, accountants keyed the data into spreadsheets.
These days, the company's seven pumpers enter the information into an iPad and instantly beam it to computers and tablets in Norman using a program called GreaseBook, named for the notepads the app replaced.
The energy patch is slow to change, but with U.S. crude prices down 50 percent, oil firms are increasingly focused on productivity. That presents an opportunity for tech companies that aim to strip inefficiencies out of drilling, fracking and oilfield services.
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While the pumpers are now happy to tap and swipe, the transition initially took some convincing, said EEC's owner and president, Jess Porter.
"I have several that are a little bit older and they just sort of looked at me and said, 'What's an iPad?'" he said.
Things have changed from a year ago, when oil was near $100 a barrel and the firms had a tough time convincing energy companies to invest in their cost-saving products.
To be sure, the silver lining to the oil rout will not shine on everyone equally. The companies that will benefit immediately are those whose technology provides quick and clear savings, said Kirk Coburn, founder of Houston-based energy sector investor Surge Ventures.
"When you have really high oil prices, you can make a lot of mistakes and you have margin to play with," he said. "When oil prices are low, the technology-buying decision changes from being a long-term decision to a short-term decision."