The majority of energy respondents fall into either the laggard or starter categories when it comes to their approach to using IIoT data. While these results are broadly in line with the overall sample, it is clear that many in the sector haven’t yet worked out how to use the data generated by their IIoT solutions to the best effect; though this improves toward the distribution end of the chain.

How advanced is the energy sector's approach to IIoT data? (%)

Laggards
Starters
Progressives
Leaders

How advanced is the energy sector's approach to IIoT data? (%)

Laggards
Starters
Progressives
Leaders

10 per cent of energy respondents – and 17 per cent of those from energy exploration – have no plans to use their data at all

Respondents broadly recognise the potential that IIoT-generated data holds to help them drive cost savings (42 per cent), improve productivity (42 per cent) and improve health and safety (42 per cent), though there are some interesting differences at a sub-sector level.

Over half of distribution companies expect to use the data generated by their IIoT solutions to monitor and improve productivity (57 per cent) and identify cost-saving opportunities (53 per cent). Somewhat understandably, extraction companies are chiefly concerned with the opportunity to use IIoT data to better monitor environmental changes (38 per cent) and to improve health and safety (43 per cent).

It is notable that 10 per cent of energy respondents – and 17 per cent of those from energy exploration – have no plans to use their data at all. With these companies not unlocking the value of the potential insights from their accumulated data, it isn’t yet the new oil.

HOW DO YOU/WILL YOU USE THE DATA COLLECTED THROUGH YOUR IIOT SOLUTIONS?

42%

Identifying cost saving opportunities

42%

Monitor productivity

42%

Improve health and safety

36%

Decrease problem resolution times

35%

Manage stock/assets

34%

Monitor environmental changes

However, despite many energy companies’ intentions for their IIoT data, it is clear that there are a number of barriers that stand in the way of their ability to use it effectively. Security is just one of the challenges that must be navigated – 33 per cent of energy respondents overall cited concerns about the security of the data they capture. Interestingly, fears about the misuse of data were the most pronounced in distribution companies, who are grappling with how to best manage the vast customer data sets that grid management and smart metering systems are furnishing them with.

A lag between the data being collected and it being available is another pressing issue that needs to be addressed, with 40 per cent of energy companies overall and almost 49 per cent of distribution companies citing this as a challenge to being able to use their data effectively. As much of the data generated by IIoT is important for providing real-time insight, this inability to take data and make it actionable, say to redivert power in the grid, stands as a major barrier to the effectiveness of IIoT implementations in the sector.

WHAT IS PREVENTING YOUR ORGANISATION FROM USING ITS IIOT DATA EFFECTIVELY? (%)

A lag between data collection and availability
Data is not widely shared within the organisation
Security / privacy concerns
Data is stored in an unusable format
We don’t have the skills we need
The volume of data is too large
Hiring skilled staff

WHAT IS PREVENTING YOUR ORGANISATION FROM USING ITS IIOT DATA EFFECTIVELY? (%)

A lag between data collection and availability
Data is not widely shared within the organisation
Security / privacy concerns
Data is stored in an unusable format
We don’t have the skills we need
The volume of data is too large
Hiring skilled staff

The security challenges reported go some way to explain why access to IIoT-generated data is heavily restricted in the sector. Taking extraction companies as an example, just 3 per cent of respondents stated that data was readily available to anyone within the organisation to access and use, with 28 per cent reporting that it was strictly the preserve of the IT department and senior management.

By their own admission, it is this restriction of access that is preventing many organisations from using their data as effectively as they could be, with 40 per cent identifying this is a barrier.

Respondents report that they have, on average over 2,000 IIoT sensors in the field, each of which will be a valuable source of real time business intelligence. However, while the sector has great ambitions for its IIoT data, until these challenges are resolved, their initiatives will struggle to meet their full potential.

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

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