What Plummeting Oil Prices Mean for the Industrial Internet of Things

By    May 14, 2015

In his State of the Union address, one of the things President Obama said was the average American family should save about $750 this year due to “lower gas prices and high fuel standards.” That seems like good news for everyone. But while consumers are enjoying the cost savings, the story is quite different on the other side of the pump. A drop in oil prices is having widespread repercussions across businesses, industries and global economies.Blog - Oil IIot.jpg

An article in Marketplace notes that “when oil prices drop, size and location matters.” Small businesses operating in marginal oil fields where yield is lower and drilling costs are higher are feeling a deep squeeze. Canadian oil giant Suncor has laid off 1,000 employees in Alberta and two of its competitors, Royal Dutch Shell PLC and Houston-based Civeo Corp., have also cut significant percentages of their Alberta workforce. Effects are stretching across Canada as the country’s projected federal surplus is looking more like a deficit this year and next.

On a more positive note, Norway is faring comparatively better with the ability to stimulate its economy if need be and exports in other sectors rising due to a weaker Norwegian currency. And despite warning in Harvard Business Review that investment in renewables tends to taper when oil prices decline, a report from Mercom Capital Group showed a 175 percent increase in renewable energy investments from 2013 to 2014 – just one of the many year-over-year growth metrics recently outlined in Computerworld.

While seasons come and go for all industries, what is important is consistently streamlining operations to better weather economic cycles. The industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) purports to address this critical need for efficiency and the market opportunity is tremendous: the latest data from Accenture reveals that it could add as much as $14.2 trillion to 20 of the world’s major economies over the next 15 years. 

Here’s just a selection of possible IIoT applications in the oil sector:

  • Automation of operations for oil and gas field systems, components and devices

  • Broadband communications and monitoring of the environment around offshore oil platforms to ensure compliance with EPA regulations

  • Real time video monitoring and surveillance

  • Preventative maintenance reporting

As consumer IoT app developers increasingly turn their attention toward this lucrative market and IIoT gathers steam, we’ll be watching this space closely. We are committed to helping networks rise to the challenge of connecting all of these sensors and devices, no matter where they are deployed. If you are currently implementing an IIoT application, we’d love to hear about your experience in the comments below or on our forum