Consider sensors, for example. Today they can measure not only variables such as temperature, pressure and fluid levels, but also more sophisticated ones, like corrosion, vibration and hazardous leaks. And they can wirelessly communicate all these measurements reliably, saving vast sums on engineering, no-longer-necessary wiring and labor. They can communicate over the Industrial Internet of Things (IoT), which is no longer a dream – it's a reality. But this innovation is just beginning.
Then consider the ability to access the reams of information – the Big Data – that all these tireless sensors are producing. Cloud computing makes it possible to set up central operations wherever we want, even as the sensors operate in "four D" environments – places that are Dull, Distant, Dirty and Dangerous. New software and analytics are enabling companies to chew the Big Data into digestible bites and give them actionable insights. As a result, companies can predict, save and optimize in ways that would have been considered impossible only a few years ago.
An example: End-to-end Exploration and Production (E&P) solutions are now available to help oil and gas operators increase efficiency, reduce costs and improve return on investment. These solutions range from seismic processing and interpretation to production modeling.
Companies can now interpret data and generate high-fidelity representations of existing brownfield assets in ways that enable them to maximize production and avoid nonproductive drilling and wasteful exploration spending.
Advances like this will help companies ensure ongoing safety, improve reliability, maximize availability and reduce operating costs, as well as avoid negative environmental impacts. They're the kinds of innovations that have already changed the world in just the last couple of years. It's clear now that in the years ahead, we can confidently look forward to much more in a safer, more productive, more environmentally friendly environment.
Commentary by David Farr, chairman and CEO of Emerson.
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