From Gastech In Houston To Offshore Drilling Operations In The Middle East And North Sea, These Digital Oil And Gas Companies Are Choosing Augmented Reality Headsets

Digital oil and gas companies have changed their approach to innovation. To increase production and cut costs, these companies are transforming the way they do maintenance, repair, and operations.

Normally, if workers on a rig run into a problem they can’t solve, everything stops. Then they wait for an expert to arrive on-site to diagnose the problem and fix it. This might take several days, but every hour offline could mean hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost productivity.

Not anymore.

Digital oil and gas companies like National Oilwell Varco, Shell, Saudia Aramco and Schlumberger are turning the status quo inside out. These companies are adopting technologies that empower their employees, increase productivity, and enhance worker safety.

The One Factor That Separates Digital Oil And Gas Companies From All The Rest

What do digital oil and gas companies know that the rest of the industry lacks?

It’s simple.

Oil and gas workers need a better way to communicate.

  • Frontline workers need a better way to share information among themselves, whether they’re on the same oil rig or half a world away.
  • Also, frontline workers need a better way to communicate with subject matter experts at headquarters.

This is the insight that is fueling innovation at digital oil and gas companies. They’re applying this formula to increase productivity and create safer conditions. And they’re doing it with RealWear augmented reality headsets.

Learn From National Oilwell Varco

When workers at National Oilwell Varco run into a problem they can’t fix, they don’t have to shut everything down while they wait for an expert to arrive. They can start a video conference call with a few simple voice commands.

“Using the RealWear headset combined with the Onsight platform has created an effective hands-free solution for our field teams to better support our customers.”

Mark Norman, AM Systems / Service Development Manager, National Oilwell Varco

With Remote Mentor solutions like Librestream’s Onsight platform, NOV workers can get expert help right away:

  • The remote expert can see what they see and hear what they hear.
  • If they need to illustrate something, the expert can make an annotation on their computer screen. Thousands of miles away, the frontline worker will see this on the screen of their RealWear headset.
  • The remote expert can also share documents with the worker while they’re still on the call. This saves time and money.

Shell Prioritizes Remote Mentor Solutions

NOV is one of many digital-focused oil and gas company to adopt solutions like this. Shell recently announced that it’s rolling out RealWear HMT-1® and the ATEX Zone 1 approved HMT-1Z1® at 24 of their sites around the world. For Shell, simplifying communications between their frontline workers and remote experts was key:

“In the past, we would have to actually fly people over in order to resolve issues. In this case, it’s nothing more than a phone-call away. We can still offer the same level of support or even better, using this kind of augmented reality. We’ve significantly reduced the cost of travel. But at the same time, we’re quicker in resolving issues that might contribute to leaks or spills.”

Michael Kaldenbach, Digital Realities Leader, Shell

Saudi Aramco Recognized For Adopting Industry 4.0 Technologies Such As Voice-Controlled Headsets

In early 2019, Saudi Aramco’s Uthmaniyah Gas Plant (UGP) was named a “Lighthouse” manufacturing facility by the World Economic Forum. UGP was one of 16 factories from an initial list of 1,000 manufacturers which WEF originally unveiled in September 2018. UGP was selected based upon its successful implementation of Industry 4.0 technologies that drive financial and operational impact.

One aspect of Saudi Aramco’s digital transformation strategy that earned UGP the “Lighthouse” designation was its use of drones and wearable technologies. When Saudi Aramco adopted these solutions to inspect pipelines and machinery, they were able to reduce UGP’s inspection time by 90%.

Digital oil and gas companies are turning to augmented reality headsets like the ATEX Zone 1 approved HMT-1Z1 to increase safety compliance and improve productivity.
A Saudi Aramco worker demonstrates the ATEX Zone 1 approved RealWear HMT-1Z1. This intrinsically safe wearable computer is entirely voice operated, which frees workers’ hands and keeps them safe. CREDIT: Screenshot from Saudi Aramco tweet here.

But how do voice-controlled headsets like HMT-1Z1 improve safety? When Saudi Aramco began using HMT-1Z1, they recorded a 70% increase in safety compliance on top of a 10% improvement in workforce productivity.

Schlumberger Introduces Digital Workflow Solutions

Voice-controlled headsets allow oil and gas workers to get the right information at the right time. Yet even beyond peer-to-peer communication, oil and gas workers need a better way to do their jobs. And once again, headsets like HMT-1 and HMT-1Z1 are up to the challenge.

“From the maintenance side we saw a 33% efficiency gain.”

David Redding, Schlumberger

This quote illustrates the power of Digital Workflow solutions. Whether it’s an oil rig or a refinery, anything that can improve worker safety without impeding productivity is a win-win. RealWear headsets allow workers to view step-by-step instructions for any task they might encounter during a shift. It’s a digital-first, reality-second solution. They can view and complete any workflow with a few simple voice commands, and their managers can analyze their work in real-time.

Oil and gas companies like Schlumberger are increasingly adopting digital workflow solutions on Augmented Reality headsets
Innovative oil and gas companies like Schlumberger benefit from digital workflow solutions on HMT-1. Image courtesy Schlumberger, screenshot from their YouTube video here.

Here’s the full quote from David Redding of Schlumberger, speaking at the 2019 RealWear Summit:

“I almost think of this as hands-free YouTube. The guys are actually able to watch a video of building something, whether it’s manufacturing or maintenance, and they can see that real-time on the device, completely hands-free.

“And of course HSE is a big one for us, so now we’re moving from something hand-held to hands-free. So not having to take off our gloves to do the maintenance.

“And also quality and compliance. We’re not missing steps, we’re not missing part of the process. So now we can systematically force them to do checks, in the manner we want to do them.

“But the big one that we saw was the efficiency. From the maintenance side we saw a 33% efficiency gain. And we can translate this into financial dollars internally, and that’s going from the hand-held to the hands-free.”

David Redding, Digital Innovation Manager, Schlumberger

How Is This Headset Better Than A Rugged Smartphone or Tablet?

RealWear headsets are better and more cost-effective than rugged smartphones and tough tablets because they improve worker safety and productivity without tradeoffs. Workers can operate RealWear’s hands-free interface without having to remove their gloves in full compliance of safety regulations. And they don’t have to look for a place to set the device aside while they’re completing a task, since RealWear headsets are compatible with all hardhats and PPE.

This transformation goes beyond better communication and greater efficiency. HMT-1 and HMT-1Z1 offer a universal platform on which any oil and gas company can customize the best solutions for their specific needs. Rugged and flexible.

That’s what makes these headsets so powerful, and it’s a big reason why digital oil and gas companies like NOV, Shell, Saudi Aramco, and Schlumberger are partnering with us.

Better communication methods mean better training and knowledge transfer. If you want to see how wearable computers like HMT-1 and the intrinsically safe HMT-1Z1 can improve communication and knowledge transfer in your organization, read our latest whitepaper.

Download the Whitepaper

Want to try a RealWear HMT headset for yourself? We’ll be at Gastech in Houston from September 17th through the 19th. Come visit us at Booth Q 145 during the show for a special promotion, or grab a quick demo with us now.

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