Major Energy Companies Placing Bets on IoT


Energy businesses are increasingly looking to leverage Internet of Things (IoT) technologies to manage and minimize the impact of their operations on the environment. This is a key finding from an independent study commissioned by global mobile satellite company Inmarsat, which found that monitoring environmental changes is the biggest driver of the technology in the energy sector.

Inmarsat’s report, “The Future of IoT in Enterprise,” found that monitoring the environment is the primary driver of IoT adoption in the sector; cited by more than half (51%) of respondents, ahead of “identifying cost saving opportunities” (47%) and “monitoring customer engagement” (44%).

Moreover, 44% of respondents stated that they had already improved their environmental sustainability as a result of their use of IoT, and a further 36% expected to do so in the future, indicating the effectiveness of the technology in this area.

Commenting on the findings, Phil Meyers, Vice President at Inmarsat Enterprise, said: “The energy industry is the biggest net contributor to greenhouse gas emissions globally, and while it has made great strides over the past few years to reduce emissions, there remains much work to be done. Energy companies are coming under increasing pressure from regulators, pressure groups and the general public to address this issue, and it is clear that many are looking to new technologies, such as IoT, to increase the sustainability of their operations and reduce their environmental footprints.

“Energy lost in the transmission and distribution of fuel is an area in which we could see some significant and immediate improvements. In the US, the oil and gas industry is responsible for leaking approximately 1 million tonnes of methane into the environment every year. However, by deploying IoT sensors, energy companies can automatically optimize gas distribution to manage pressure in their networks and minimize leakage.

“IoT-enabled, condition-based maintenance tools, meanwhile, can also be deployed to monitor the performance of equipment, helping to identify potential problems and address them before they disrupt operations and wreak havoc on the environment,” he continued.

Meyers concluded: “IoT holds a great deal of promise for enabling the energy sector to cut waste and reduce its impact on the environment, but realizing these benefits depends upon stable and reliable connectivity. The success of IoT solutions depends on the ability to regularly transmit data gathered by connected networks of sensors and devices back to a control room for analysis, and in the case of the energy sector, much of that will take place at long distances across remote locations that may lack cellular coverage, which is why satellite is critical.”

IoT Abounds

It was recently announced that NASA is engaging with IoT for energy efficiency. NASA’s LEED Platinum building, called Sustainability Base, is acting as a beta tester for an IoT energy monitoring system. Manufactured by Verdigris Technologies, the system uses clamp-on current sensors to detect individual devices turning on and off, and a sophisticated signal processing algorithm that identifies the device and analyzes its electrical “signature” to detect potential faults.

And utilities are increasingly using IoT technologies for analytics and efficiency. The new realm of utility data and analytics revolves around leveraging both utility- and customer-owned IoT technologies to drive competitive advantage and achieve cost savings. These findings were recently released in GTM’s “Grid Edge Customer Utility Analytics Ecosystem” report, authored by Timotej Gavrilovic




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