The first example of a “killer app” for Google Glass in the oil & gas industry? (video)

My first project with Google Glass applied to the oil & gas industry was a simple demonstration of some of the information engineers could potentially pull up in the field.  A few weeks ago I gave a demonstration of a related project I’m working on in my free time, called “the Digital Tally Book”.  I had some big ambitions but progress was slow as I had no outside help.

Since then, I’ve met and teamed up with two excellent technical professionals, and we’ve made significant headway.  To the extent that we have made some real strides, I’m very excited to share with you the latest iteration of this application.

Our goals for the Digital Tally Book are twofold:

  • Create a standalone application that centralizes all the data a field engineer might need when working a job, so that they can move away from scattered pieces of paper and cumbersome notebooks.
  • Use that platform as a means of creating content for Google Glass and wearable technology generally, so that the engineer can create their own content on the tablet app, then transfer it to the wearable device (in this case Glass) for hands free use on the rig floor, and then even transfer data created over the course of the job back to the tablet.  This is where the true power of the Digital Tally Book lies:  not only will it centralize job data and allow its easy transport to and from the rig floor, it will save engineers time AFTER the job, as up until now they have had to manually transcribe their notes from the tally book to their computers to create post-job reports.

Indeed, Google Glass is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to wearable technology, but despite all its potential, content creation and management is still difficult:  one really needs advanced coding and computer knowledge to push information to it.  With this project, the team and I hope to provide a solution that not only makes life for any field engineer with a tablet easier, but also allows them a means to make the leap to wearable technology if they wish to do so.

What motivated this project?

Field engineers currently must be diligent, organized and rigorous, but even before the job starts this is difficult due to the large volume information that must be gathered and then brought to the well site:  printed out job procedures that must then manually be copied to an actual tally book for reference on the rig floor, paper job tickets to have signed once the job is over, even something as trivial as printed out directions to the job location.  Once on the rig floor, if they have to take notes for a post-job report, they must write in an awkward tally book, and they must then take the time after the job to transcribe and format these notes into a formal report.

The team and I feel there is a better way!  In the same way that many people keep their contacts on their phone nowadays rather than a Rolodex, we are attempting to bring an even greater shift to the oil & gas fields.

In this demonstration, we showcase several key features of the final product:

  • The ability to create job procedures on the tablet itself.  In this demonstration, I have pre-loaded a procedure for a casing annulus packer (CAP), but in the future, a company could have multiple templates corresponding to all their different tools stored on a cloud server.  The engineer could then pick the appropriate procedure and modify it – again directly on the tablet – as desired.
  • Once that procedure has been created, it can be sent directly to Google Glass, so the engineer can leave the tablet in the truck, take the procedure with them on Glass, and free up their hands to do actual work on the rig floor or at the wellhead.  No more cumbersome tally book!
  • The procedure on Glass is voice activated.  The engineer can simply say “Next” as they move through the steps:  no need to stop working to take notes or refer to a procedure!
  • The engineer can say “Next detail” to pull up further information if they require it.  In this case, that is what an “ideal” pump chart should look like during the CAP inflation, so the engineer knows what they are aiming for.
  • As the engineer steps through the job procedure, the Glass program time stamps each action as it is accomplished; this essentially creates the job report.  At the end of the job, the engineer can then send this report back to the tablet, and the report can then in turn be emailed out.

The team and I really feel that this demonstration is a game changer because it shows the power of an integrated suite of programs that includes wearable technology in the form of Google Glass married to more familiar and traditional tablet computing.

This is a “closed loop” solution where the engineer creates content before the job and continues creating it all the way up until the end.  They are free to work on the rig floor with all the information in their direct line of sight, and they save time after a job from having to prepare a job report; in the final version the tablet will incorporate the field report from the engineer with the preliminary information (job objectives, tool selection) to create a fully fleshed out, formatted job report.

The team and I hope that you enjoy the video demonstration and that it sparks your imaginations with regards to how this type of technology can further be used in the oil & gas industry.  Please feel free to drop me a line with comments or questions through my website, LinkedIn, or through email.

We look forward to hearing from you!