The oil and gas industry is about to undergo a massive boom in spending for mobile apps and other mobile technologies. Spending on mobile will reach nearly $18.7 billion by 2020, up from $7 billion in 2015, according to a study by MarketsandMarkets. That represents a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21.7 percent in what the report calls “one of the most crucial markets in the world.” North America will see the most spending, followed by Europe, APAC, the Middle East and Africa, and Latin America.
What kind of benefits can oil and gas companies expect from the use of mobile technology? Natalie Cheng cites five specific benefits companies can expect to see in her blog “Benefits of a Mobile Field Service App,” for the ChaiOne digital strategy firm.
In the oil and gas industry, a great deal of fieldwork is done by field managers, derrick hands, geologists and others. They need to capture information quickly and accurately. Traditionally that has meant paper, which means lost productivity and inaccurate information. And laptops are typically too unwieldy to use. So, Cheng says, “With a mobile phone or tablet, people in the field can get information easily and spend more time doing other parts of their job which reduces downtime. Workers can also organize and review information better with a mobile device instead of trying to decipher notes written from the field.”
Real-time information for the oil and gas industry is as good as gold. Mobile apps and solutions can gather vast amounts of it, including the pump rate, mud viscosity and much more. That information can be used to make fast decisions that make a difference. As Cheng explains, “real-time information helps workers get the most accurate information needed, which leads to higher quality results. If production is up or down wouldn’t you like to know in real time?”
Smartphones and tablets can provide geolocation information for people and resources. That makes it easier to match available people to the work that needs to be done. It also helps improve safety by precisely locating geographic areas that have dangers in them. Cheng concludes: “Location helps get information to the right people at the right time in the right context. Real-time operational intelligence helps save money and headaches.”
Oil and gas companies are often vast and sprawling, with many different people needing to work together — from out the field to the offices, to executives on the road. Mobile apps and technology makes collaboration easier and more effective. As Cheng explains, “It’s important that operators, engineers, and other executives collaborate on projects since many organizations operate across different countries. Having a mobile device helps enhance collaboration by giving these people a tool to send real time information and get feedback immediately.”
More data plus timely information plus better collaboration means better decisions are made. Tasks get prioritized better, better choices are made about which wells to pursue. Cheng concludes that leads to “less mistakes, happier employees, and a higher ROI.”
What’s the Best Tool for Building Mobile Apps for the Oil and Gas Industry?
Alpha TransForm is ideally suited for building mobile apps for the oil and gas industry. It has the unique ability to rapidly create mobile-optimized forms and field apps that can easily access and integrate with existing databases and web services, and can exploit built-in role-based security. It builds offline apps, vital for the oil and gas industry, and has frequently been used to write mobile apps for field workers.
View and download Alpha Software's pumpjack inspection app and watch a related webinar on how to customize it for your organization.
Read a case study on how one developer for a major oil drilling company built an offline-capable maintenance app for offshore oil platforms.