Energy respondents are – generally speaking – able to secure the reliable connectivity they need to support their IIoT initiatives. Just a quarter (25 per cent) of respondents identified connectivity as one of the biggest challenges facing their IIoT deployments and only around a third (32 per cent) thought that connectivity issues could hold them back – numbers that are significantly lower than those reported by other sectors.

32%

thought connectivity issues could hold them back

HOW WELL IS THE ENERGY SECTOR ADAPTING TO THE CONNECTIVITY REQUIREMENTS OF IIOT? (%)

Laggards
Starters
Progressives
Leaders

HOW WELL IS THE ENERGY SECTOR ADAPTING TO THE CONNECTIVITY REQUIREMENTS OF IIOT? (%)

Laggards
Starters
Progressives
Leaders

However, looking deeper at the subsectors that we surveyed, we can see marked differences, with some achieving better connectivity levels than others. Distributors led the way here, a trend that can in some part be attributed to their in-built advantage in accessing the necessary connectivity for their IIoT deployments via grid systems and their distribution linking them to connected urban areas.

On the other hand, extraction and exploration companies struggled more with their connectivity levels, which no doubt factors into the relatively low levels of IIoT adoption in this segment of the market.

43 per cent of extraction businesses stated that connectivity was one of their biggest IIoT challenges – significantly higher than the 14 per cent of distribution companies that thought the same. Additionally, over half (51 per cent) of extraction respondents reported that they struggle to access reliable connections.

DOES YOUR ORGANISATION STRUGGLE WITH RELIABLE CONNECTIVITY FOR ITS IIOT DEPLOYMENTS?

Energy distribution


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Energy extraction


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Energy exploration


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Strongly agree
Agree
Disagree
Strongly disagree

Satellite is playing a critical role in enabling energy extraction businesses to transmit IIoT data from remote locations. 70 per cent of these organisations stated that satellite was essential for delivering their IIoT-based solutions, while on average 38 per cent of IIoT data was transmitted via satellite within these organisations – considerably higher than satellite usage seen in the energy distribution market (where this figure sat at 25 per cent).

However, satellite is just one part of the connectivity mix, and most organisations will find themselves using satellite in conjunction with a range of cellular, fibre and radio networks to support their IIoT deployments. Fibre is playing a particularly significant role in the connectivity mix, with 57 per cent of respondents citing it as key to supporting their IIoT networks, with radio networks following close behind with 54 per cent, cellular on 49 per cent.

42%

of energy companies struggle to access reliable connections

As IIoT deployment accelerates, extraction businesses will have an ever-increasing demand for reliable data transmission, and it is satellite connectivity that will meet this demand

Connectivity is just one part of the picture as the effectiveness of IIoT initiatives depends upon users’ ability to take the data generated by sensors and action it to drive better business outcomes.

This is where the new wave of wireless data collection technologies, which enable edge processing and real time data routing, come in to the frame and bring these solutions to life. It is notable then, that over a third of energy (37 per cent) of energy companies are not using any such technologies at all.

Where they are being deployed, however, RFID came out as the most commonly-used in the sector, selected by 30 per cent of respondents to support their IIoT initiatives, followed by Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) (20 per cent).

LoRaWAN is particularly popular amongst the energy distributors we surveyed, with 16 per cent using the technology, compared to just 8 per cent of extraction companies. With its ability to handle connect millions of devices and handle smart city applications, like smart meters, the preference for LoRaWAN in the distribution sector stands to reason.

WHAT OTHER TECHNOLOGIES ARE YOU USING IN YOUR IIOT DEPLOYMENTS? (%)

RFID
Bluetooth Low Energy
LoRaWAN
Sigfox
SigB
ZigBee

WHAT OTHER TECHNOLOGIES ARE YOU USING IN YOUR IIOT DEPLOYMENTS? (%)

RFID
Bluetooth Low Energy
LoRaWAN
Sigfox
SigB
ZigBee

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE RESEARCH, DOWNLOAD THE REPORT - INDUSTRIAL IOT ON LAND AND AT SEA: ENERGY

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