Oil&Gas4.0: The Smart Worker


Furthermore, while operational services require additional support and strategies, with the "wild card" growth of gas combined with oil, there is a significant increase in infrastructure and maintenance required to support this, including wells and pipelines.

It's up to the O&G companies to apply innovative Industry4.0 solutions to the worker that will ensure efficiency of process, cost and of course HSE.

Welcome to the Smart Worker 4.0

The Fundamentals

Given the sector isn't typically "first in line" when it comes to technology adoption, for strong penetration there are a number of fundamentals to be in place for the Smart Worker 4.0 culture, technologies and processes to spread across the sector. From Robustness of the device, to connectivity and ease of use all needing to consider the somewhat unique environments in which they will reside.


Before the rush for wearables, the devices have to be suitable for the harshest of "office jobs"! Capable of being stood on, exposure to corrosive substances and extreme cold and hot temperatures.


Improving network connections will be essential in order to talk to the localized hub, care of 4G and future 5G.

Ease of Use

Typically the worker is using both hands and therefore there's a need for devices either embedded in clothing, strapped on or in a headset for ease of use.

Smart Worker Advantages

While oil prices are stabilized and now increasing, there remains a caution and inherited tight budgets, combined with every increasing HSE regulations. Put this together with the 4 retirees to 1 new employee ratio and there are various dynamics affecting productivity in the industry over the years ahead.

The greatest operational challenges for the existing workers remain with:

a. A slow maintenance and inspection process

b. A paper based process that's prone to errors

c. Remote workers that are increasingly difficult to track

Let's consider the worker's daily duties and responsibilities firstly; starting their day logging on, planning the day's schedule and routing. As they set-off on their route, undertaking observational and maintenance activities, adjusting equipment, clothing and to the approved seniority level access in the respective areas as they go. It's an effort as various manuals are required for the various pieces of equipment and more so for the "rookies". Once completed, work orders are updated and notes made. It's a slow process and administratively demanding.

Smart Workers 4.0

The idea is for a worker to move through his/her rounds with a prioritized route, armed with realtime intelligence care of visual display devices, voice comms and tracking in order to handle those eventualities that may arise:

1. Before the worker even logs onto the system, the route has been planned by the AI bots that are continually reading date from the IoT devices at the Edge through to the Fog/Cloud storage and analysis

2. The worker armed with smart pre-loaded and connected device with full traceability is ready to take on his/her route, having put in the hazmat sensor clothing that's ready to realtime monitor conditions and communicate back to the operating centre

3. Upon entry to activation zones, the smart device enables on the headset display AR/VR equipment manuals in readiness for maintenance activities to be done, along with notifications for the readying of suitable clothing and equipment.

4. Upon the completion of tasks, the worker updates the Smart device work order and passes back to the AI bot for further analysis.

The workers are equipped with various wearables, from handheld to clothing embedded devices to visual wear. These devices transmit data to IoT gateways that perform basic analytics at the edge or for more complex analysis up into the cloud and Realtime Operating Center (ROC4.0)

The Next Steps

Deploying Smart Worker 4.0 Technologies are never as simple as buying and abdicating the responsibility to the operations. Instead a thorough business case needs establishing, training and measuring:

Business Case

Each organization should first identify what the new business should look like in detail, along with identifying KPIs. For instance an equipment's maintenance could be assessed initially descriptively with historical data, enabling the predictive patters of the future to be considered. Thereafter, the workers’ activities and pump conditions are monitored and the analytics refines the tasks and envelopes over time.

Data Demands

What data is available, what is still required, where it will be stored and analyzed and how it will extracted. What formats are these different data sources in – will new interfaces be required to translate them into a common standard for practical use?

Delivering The Solution

And then last but the top priority, engaging the worker from the start, involving them in the design, usage, operational responsibilities, and returns (The Digital Culture 4.0).

Let me know if you'd like to know more explore best practice or talk to someone who's been there, done it.

I'd love to help