Applied Research and Innovation Services

Innovative IT makes life easier for energy-field workers

Contextere image

More and more, today’s companies are seeking leading-edge information technology (IT) solutions to create efficiencies, increase safety and lower costs.

Carl Byers, chief strategy officer of Contextere, wanted to find an IT solution for the energy sector that would make it easier to deliver information to oil field workers, manage and create reports, and increase on-the-job safety. While laptops and tablets are an improvement from their paper counterparts, workers still need to search for information, which decreases their productivity.

To fix these problems, Byers approached researchers at SAIT’s Centre for Innovative IT Solutions (CIITS) to develop a customized software system.

“We’re building an intelligent personal agent for field workers that, based on who they are and where they are, will deliver specific information needed every moment in time,” says Byers. “We’ve found that 50 to 70 per cent of field workers spend their time searching and waiting for information or getting the equipment they need. Once they have the information, they’re still doing the job incorrectly 25 per cent of the time.”

The company had an idea for the product, and had done the initial proof-of-concept work, but needed a working prototype to demonstrate the technology to potential industry clients.

“We created a software system where sensory data from equipment is transferred to a central server and then transmitted to a mobile device – which also has the capability to be mirrored onto a wearable technology such as a smartwatch,” explains CIITS researcher Daniel Wehr. “We developed the prototype of this central server with a Windows-based mobile app that can present the sensory data when it is most relevant to the field worker.”

Byers says the Contextere software not only increases efficiencies and safety, but also addresses recent changes in the energy sector.

“There are a number of trends that are occurring, such as the increase of information from field equipment due to sensors and the need for field workers to do multiple jobs at once,” says Byers. “Our technology addresses these trends. SAIT has allowed us to execute and deliver a real-world, market-ready solution.”

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