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article imageMicrosoft and Halliburton partner to digitalize energy sector

By Tim Sandle     Aug 24, 2017 in Business
The companies Halliburton and Microsoft have entered into a partnership which aims to transform the oil industry transform in new ways. At the heart is a new way of information sharing.
Microsoft and Halliburton have set out an agenda to collaborate on activities such as machine learning, augmented reality, and user interactions. Specifically for oilfields Microsoft’s hardware solutions including HoloLens, Surface, Azure, and its Internet of Things solutions will be deployed to Halliburton’s rigs. For this to happen, Halliburton will move its information technology to the DecisionSpace 365 platform and run Microsoft’s cloud, Azure. This will permit real-time analytics to be utilized.
According to the Energy Collective, the future vision of the modern energy company is made up of five essential characteristics. These are:
Characteristic 1 – Work on a production model of flexible demand and place less emphasis on asset ownership;
Characteristic 2 – Using risk management better;
Characteristic 3 – Using ‘Big Data’ to give leverage for competitive advantage;
Characteristic 4 – Putting in place user-friendly applications and automation tools; and
Characteristic 5 – Being close to the customers and retaining their trust.
Of these characteristics, the third and fourth require the use of digital technology and a change to cultural practices. With the use of big data analytics, the adoption of smart meters in the homes and businesses supplied by the energy company provide greater access to information about what customers are doing in terms of energy usage in a more granular way; also of importance is the collection and processing of such information in ‘real time’. Energy providers can, on the basis of such information, develop propositions better suited to the needs of the consumer.
With automation businesses and domestic consumers can take advantage of different tariffs, running certain processes at night, for example, to lower energy costs. It is only through automation that energy companies can match client demand by offering a variable series of differing tariffs. This becomes more complex across borders and time zones. An example here is with the technology provided by Nest Labs, who manufacture smart thermostats which learn from the user and can self-program. Such devices can be controlled remotely by smartphones and tablets.
While such smaller-scale developments signal the digital transformation of the industry, the Microsoft and Halliburton venture is a huge project. The primary aim of this venture is to improve exploration results by applying deep learning to assess data and to make use of augmented reality to assist with modeling and simulation. Big data analytics will also be used to help optimize well-drilling and improve cost efficiencies (as measured by reducing production costs per barrel of oil). This development shows how an established business model can still make major changes to its permanent driver: the need to find new sources of fossil fuels in order to remain competitive against other companies and in the context of an industry increasingly turning towards low carbon, alternative energy sources.
More about Microsoft, Halliburton, Oil, Oil refinery, digital transformation
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