Data management gets the right information to the right people
As the old saying goes, knowledge is power. Data needs to be used if it’s going to be of any use. A company needs to ensure that any information it has gathered or stored has to get in front of the right pair of eyes in order to deliver the best value.
Old-fashioned storage methods can very easily become isolated within departments, keeping it out of the hands and heads of clients, contractors and other areas of a company.
This can result in redundancies, as one department repeats data gathering activities that another part of the company has already performed. Or two departments work from different sets of data, or even no data at all, holding up projects and driving up costs.
Cyberhawk commercial director Phil Buchan told InnovOil about how a company can better manage its data.
Cyberhawk utilises drones to perform asset inspection, either for repairs or during the construction phase.
Six years ago, Cyberhawk developed a suite of data management software called iHawk. It allows a company to store and access the data gathered from multiple data sources, including Cyberhawk’s drones.
“The software takes the large volume of drone-collected data, manages it and presents it in a way that’s very easy for a client to see where the problems are,” Buchan said. “The drone collects thousands and thousands and thousands of images, gigabytes of data, which can be a nightmare for asset managers to work through; however, our software allows clients to pinpoint any problems with minimum effort.”
Reaching the cloud
Cyberhawk has been using its drones and the iHawk platform on a three-year contract at a US petrochemical facility. “This is a huge project, the site is the size of a town, and what’s happening is that a drone is flying over that site twice a week,” Buchan said. “This data is processed and it’s hosted on iHawk. This allows everybody on that project to access that information and use it to support a whole host of site activities.
“This is about project management and construction management and digitising and visualising your construction project. For this particular project, there are 500 users that are dialling into that information from the oil and gas company’s project managers, senior managers and HSE teams guys, through to design contractors and construction contractors, and everyone is accessing the same sets of data.
“What that does is remove a lot of site visits, a lot of people travelling from all over the world; they’re all accessing this information instead of having to go to site on a regular basis because they’ve got this high-quality information to manage the project with.”
When information is stored in physical media, it’s difficult for it to travel around a company, or to contractors, many of whom need it to ensure projects are delivered as efficiently as possible.
“What used to happen is there would be some project manager stuck in an office with bits of papers and graphs, charts and 2D drawings, sketches,” Buchan said. “It would have been really difficult to get the whole team on board with what was happening. Now what we’re seeing is lots of people standing in front of screens having a meeting. They can instantly see what everyone’s talking about, the progress, what’s good and what’s bad.”
As time goes on and greater volumes of data become available to a company, these digital information management solutions can move from a reactive tool to a predictive one. “What you’re getting with a drone is: you’re getting a complete visual record of that structure. As you roll that forward, because you’ve got a full data set, you can start tracking things over time,” Buchan said.
“Then it’s getting to the point you can start to predict where potential defects and failures are going to occur, and then there’s huge potential cost savings there, as it’s a lot cheaper to fix issues at that stage before they become a problem.”
iHawk is capable of serving as a hub for other digital services. As more and more digital solutions join the market, some specialised and some general, synergy between them will become an important part of a product’s competitive advantage.
“With a construction project, there were multiple different data sets being hosted in that platform – there were time-lapse cameras that were provided by another company,” Buchan said. “The IP being used for managing the traffic flow around the site, that’s all coming from different organisations, all being hosted on the iHawk platform, which is being used as the central hub of the information.
“And likewise in some projects, our data and access to iHawk is being hosted on other people’s platforms.”