The next ten years could be the most disruptive opportunity the Oil & Gas industry has ever seen. Those who are most adaptable and have a clear understanding of their operational realities will have the strongest foundation to build on. Today’s digital strategies provide the visibility of that foundation. They offer a clear and current view with increased agility to make timely adjustments. As digital capabilities grow, the ability to pivot strategies increases.

Those digital tools largely focus on making field conditions more visible to dashboards and analytics platforms. This increased visibility makes it possible to strengthen the security of assets, improve predictive maintenance algorithms, identify new business trends, and streamline the effort of mobile workers. Although these strategies aren’t yet pervasive, their adoption has accelerated during the pandemic, and we expect the energy transition pressure to accelerate them even more.

Early adopters are now exploring ways to extend their digital capabilities into tele-remote operation and ultimately autonomous operation. To move in this direction, the preferred digital strategy becomes more dependent on video technologies and autonomous machines like robots and drones. These technologies are mature enough to show promise, but the processes and infrastructure needed to normalize their use are in the very early stages of adoption.

Digital Value – Snapshots of the Journey

Oil & Gas companies are steadily adopting more digital strategies and here are a few use cases gaining momentum.

Control Systems Security

When the TSA published security directives for the pipeline industry in 2021, most Oil & Gas companies were already on their way to adopting a security framework for their operations infrastructure, especially their control systems.

Unfortunately, operators tell us just having a framework does not mean they have a current view of their compliance within that framework. Many operators are currently searching for tools that will help them establish a real time inventory with current security compliance metrics. These tools exist, and their capabilities are expanding.

Asset Visibility

It’s hard to imagine a measurement point that doesn’t have a corresponding sensor on the market. With Cisco’s ability to move data from these sensors to anywhere securely, it’s never been easier to gain visibility to current asset conditions. Gaining this visibility, opens opportunities to optimize production with better information, reduce maintenance costs, and identify security risks.

Secure Mobile Worker

Field personnel are both sources of data for safety monitoring and benefactors of online data. First, a mobile worker’s condition and environment are central to any safety program. Clip on sensors are available for health monitoring, gas detection, and noise profiling. Second, equipping mobile workers with access to online processes, reporting, and operating procedures provides the business with more accurate and current data for decision making and reporting.

A Path Toward Remote Operations

Once a digital strategy becomes pervasive, the increased visibility and control allows tasks to be automated or moved into remote operations centers. Physical tasks and visual work can be delegated to industrial robots or drones. The need for on-site personnel becomes an exception. When this level of digitization is achieved, safety incidents drop to zero and operations become more efficient and agile.

The Digital Solution: An overview

All this new visibility is made possible by getting data from hard-to-reach locations in the field and making it available to critical decision makers anywhere. All digital systems quantify information at the source and then communicate that information to decision makers or systems for analysis. The following steps from the source to the data consumer describe the system in more detail.

The Source of Data

Thousands of industrial grade sensors are available to digitize anything your operation finds valuable. These sensors can detect vibration, temperature, flow, and many other measurements without disrupting operations and without disturbing existing control systems.

Standardize, Secure, & Deliver the Data

The data format coming from sensors varies greatly and requires standardization. Doing this standardization on a Cisco network device close to the source allows for efficient streaming of data to all

authorized requestors. With the availability of multiple mature wireless technologies and increasing communication capacity to remote locations, connectivity options can be overwhelming. This is where Cisco and its partner community delivers significant value to guide you into the best suited communication technologies available today.

Leverage the Data for Value

There are so many ways to leverage these new data streams. Operators may have dashboards of KPIs and a big data analytics engines accessing the same data streams. Each of these upstream applications have their own data format requirements and data frequency needs. Designing effective dashboards and leveraging data for analytics can be complex so the assistance of a qualified industry partner is valuable.


The opportunity in today’s Oil & Gas industry compels operators to become more agile and efficient. Today’s digital strategies and tools increase visibility to current operational realities and tomorrow’s strategies will enable greater automation and remote control so that sites will become even safer, more productive, and adaptable to future changes in the industry.

Find out more about how Cisco helps Oil & Gas operators with their digital strategies at www.cisco.com/go/oilandgas.


Roland Plett

Industry Lead

Oil & Gas and Mining