How Big Data is Disrupting Oil & Gas – And How Fast File Transfers Can Help

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There’s been a lot of disruption in the oil & gas sector as a result of advancements in the computing space: cloud computing, cloud analytics, and big data itself are continuously changing the landscape.

I just finished going over an article by Kevin Rands, contributor for www.cio.com which I found very interesting. In his article, he claims that disruptive innovators who take on a “startup mentality” will change the way oil & gas use big data, cloud computing and analytics moving forward. Although I agree with his argument, there’s one area that may bottleneck the process: the infrastructure itself - which is used to collect, process deliver and share data.

The industry has spent vast amounts of money on IT in recent years; Rands cites IDC’s claims that the industry has spent $700 million on IT in 2014 alone. Investments have given rise to these advancements, which have in turn caused American oil prices to fall, creating an opportunity for America’s oil & gas industry - especially if they can leverage the price advantage with disruptive technology.

Rands makes a case for the “startup mentality” because of their agility and “hustle” mentality, which I agree with. Startups may not have been the first, as Microsoft and other large enterprises are playing a major role. But, I think the “startup mentality” will truly shine when it produces solutions at a pace large enterprises can’t keep up with.

While big data, cloud computing and analytics are disrupting the oil & gas industry, I see an additional challenge. While these they provide better analytics, less downtime and a competitive edge; these technologies all rely heavily on internet access.

The oil & gas industry creates massive amounts of data on a regular basis, large geospatial maps used to find oil is one example of many. Sure the technology helps analytics, but there’s still the challenge of transporting and sharing this data.

As Rand puts it; companies will no doubt benefit from having easy access to data. Drill sites, however, are usually in remote areas that rely on satellite connections and departments usually span large the globe - causing packet loss and latency that can be detrimental to efficiency.

To truly leverage this the big data, it has to be agile, shareable and accessible across the entire organization. The faster this process is, the larger the benefit. Satellites may provide a connection, but they are greatly limited in terms of speed and reliability.

Will companies truly benefit from all this information if they are limited by the speed at which they can transfer it?

There is no doubt that the “startup mentality” will disrupt the industry, but I think the real disruption will come specifically in the form of increased file transfer speeds - resulting in quicker access, and quicker decision making. If companies already see the benefits of implementing cloud computing and analytics, those benefits will be amplified when a file transfer acceleration solution is leveraged.