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IoT Scenarios for Energy


Safer and more efficient energy usage is top-of-mind for most of us these days. Effective IoT solutions have enormous potential to improve the production of energy as well as the way existing energy systems distribute and use the energy we have access to.

In this step, we’ll take a look at a couple of examples.

Rockwell Automation

Rockwell Automation created a solution to monitor expensive capital assets and use that data to improve efficiency, drive better performance and enable innovation. Based on Microsoft Azure Internet of Things services, the solution collects, integrates, and organizes sensor data from remote equipment across global supply chains to support real-time insight, predictive analytics, and preventive maintenance.

Here is the article – Fueling the oil and gas industry with IoT of how IoT is being used by Rockwell Automation to improve energy usage in a real-world situation.

The story asks you to consider the incredible and precarious journey the gasoline in your car takes from the moment it’s mined to when it ends up in your vehicle. Its journey begins on a remote offshore oil well more than 500 feet below the surface that’s battered by turbulent waves. The gasoline is then transported across the rugged North Pacific, only to find itself travelling hundreds of miles in a pipeline across searing desert terrain. A stop at the refinery and then it’s off again, carried by train and truck until it finally arrives at your local filling station. Along the way, it passes through countless pumps, holding tanks, meters, monitors and hoses.

With all those myriad systems and variables (such as weather, corrosion, local transportation scenarios and mining and distribution equipment), building systems to ensure timeous, safe and efficient production and delivery of vehicle fuel requires continual monitoring, maintenance, and adjustments across the entire supply chain.

Rockwell Automation is using IoT to assist engineers in monitoring remote equipment. Using data collected in sensors in drilling pumps (the failure of a single pump can cost between $100,000 and $300,000 per day in lost productivity, according to the article) engineers can build dashboards to monitor the health of the pumps hundreds of miles away. The system can also alert engineers to problems in real-time to allow for immediate and more efficient troubleshooting and minimal downtime. According to one engineer, ‘the last time we had a well trip offline, within five minutes we got a phone call telling us what broke, what to look at, and how to test it.’

Rockwell’s solution extends to the gas pump as well. It’s implementing IoT sensors to enable safer delivery of liquid natural gas which takes up less volume to store and transport than traditional vehicle fuels and is being used mainly in large trucks used to transport goods.

To keep the pumping stations operating efficiently and safely, Rockwell is using IoT sensors to monitor pumps and predictive analytics to anticipate failures and keep stations well supplied with the fuel customers need.

Rockwell is also experimenting with machine learning to better analyse the large amount of data being collected from their sensors. Better data analysis can provide better insights into how fueling stations are functioning and may foster innovative ways to distribute fuel more safely and efficiently.

XTO Energy

XTO Energy is a subsidiary of ExxonMobil and has major holdings in the Permian Basin, one of the world’s most important oil-producing regions. To overcome the challenges of monitoring and optimising a vast number of widely dispersed field assets, XTO Energy has been digitalising its Permian operations. By using Microsoft Azure IoT technologies to electronically collect data and Azure solutions to store and analyse it, XTO Energy gains new insights into well operations and future drilling possibilities.

Read the full story here – XTO Energy taps into IoT.

These are just two examples of how IoT is transforming energy. We hope these examples have inspired you to think of more ways IoT can be used to innovate on our ever-pressing power needs, whether it be extending our existing energy sources to get the most out of them or finding new sources of energy.

Now let’s move onto healthcare, a sector that’s rapidly changing (and changing lives) from an IoT perspective.

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Microsoft Future Ready: Fundamentals of Internet of Things (IoT)

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