Although cloud adoption in the energy industry has been hindered by lingering concerns about data privacy, regulations, and security, today’s competitive realities have sparked increased investment in cloud-based solutions. In a 2016 CIO survey from Harvey Nash and KPMG, energy sector IT leaders expected significant bumps in spending on IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS services.
The cloud promises:
- Improved asset management
- Enhanced operational efficiency
- Reduced operating expenses
- Better performance
But in addition, cloud solutions also:
- Offer fast, efficient, surprisingly affordable delivery of software and infrastructure
- Seamlessly link multiple sites around the world
- Enhance the security of sensitive information by storing it in a virtual hub rather than on
Let’s look at 6 real-world use cases of cloud technology in the energy industry
- Smart meters—Today’s utility companies are capturing, storing, and analyzing sensor data such as environmental information, and resource usage from smart meters. This helps them:
- Detect patterns in energy consumption
- Optimize energy distribution
- Make more efficient use of resources
- Predict and prevent service outages
- Measure and improve the customer experience.
The energy industry is also exploring how to integrate energy storage and renewable energy into the grid.
- Customer experience—Distributed generation, smart metering, and social media are drastically altering the way utilities interact with their customers. Today’s increasingly sophisticated energy customers expect more self-service and access to information, products, and services on demand. Cloud is supporting front- and back-office customer operations to enable advance engagement with customers, partners, and suppliers.
- Seismic sensors—Oil and gas (O&G) companies are using cloud solutions to deploy, manage, and analyze massive amounts of geological data produced by sensitive seismic processes. Sensor data enables energy companies to maximize energy resources by helping them detect and extract oil from wells that were formerly believed to have run dry, or in locations where previous investigations suggested that no oil was present.
- Collaboration—O&G companies need integrated, global access to data, systems, and expertise to enable real-time collaboration across their geographically diverse ecosystem of partners, suppliers, subcontractors, and employees. Modern cloud-based systems enable such collaboration because stakeholders are no longer bound to internal fixed assets and sites, and access is mobile- and platform-agnostic. For example, cloud-based collaboration tools such as Hightail (formerly YouSendIt) enable employees to securely exchange very large files containing maps, oil-well data, CAD drawings, images, graphics, and other crucial information without overloading the email system.
- Electric vehicle systems—The clean energy industry is booming, and major players are using the cloud to increase their green power capacity and transform operations. With over 21,000 charging stations across the US, ChargePointis building infrastructure in the cloud so they can provide real-time data usage on electric vehicle systems. This data is easy to manage for consumers and partners, and can be used to make better decisions that influence market choices. These cloud services are also provided to other charger manufacturers.
- Wind farms—Cloud infrastructure can help manage wind farms scattered across the country by storing and managing the immense amounts of data produced by the wind farm’s power generation sources. Mobile and social technologies connect wind farm operators with customers through the cloud to help determine power usage, assess energy demand, and improve energy distribution.
These six use cases clearly demonstrate that early adopters in the energy industry are reaping the benefits of cloud solutions. By ushering in more collaboration, efficiency, and innovation, the cloud is transforming how utilities are run, positioning them for a profitable future. If your company would like to take advantage of the power and promise of the cloud, get in touch with 3S today.