Mobile devices, including smartphones and tablet computers, are quickly becoming standard in the oil and gas industry. Studies show that more than two-thirds of all petroleum industry employees have a smartphone on the job and beginning in 2014 we’re now accessing the Internet more with mobile devices than PCs. As these devices become faster, more powerful, and easier to use, with an app to seemingly meet any need, they are becoming increasingly more important to our industry by helping us to better communicate while solving problems faster. Among the key advantages of using mobile devices in the petroleum industry are:
- Speed: Mobile devices are great for capturing and sharing information quickly. With just a single click, information can be gathered and shared with multiple people as well as systems, and nearly instantaneously. Mobile devices also make it possible to efficiently prepare and share pictures, video clips, GPS coordinates, and a host of other information resources.
- Single Device: Mobile devices have significantly reduced the need to have a laptop computer, especially when traveling on business. A single, extremely portable device for voice communications, email, and web access is a big convenience. Mobile devices are typically small, light, and easily transported, yet powerful enough to do tasks like viewing and editing spreadsheets. And with advanced synchronization and cloud-based storage, information is truly available anytime-anywhere.
- Notifications: Mobile devices are ideal for receiving alarms, alerts, and instant notifications, whether by text, messaging system, or email. As an example, a user can get an instant alert on system upset conditions without the delay that can sometimes accompany email communications. In addition, it’s often possible to successfully transmit a push notification or text message to a mobile device when weak cell service will not support a voice call.
- Security: While mobile devices are not impenetrable, robust security is now widely available, including advanced encryption options, making smartphones and tablets increasingly accepted for business use. Mobile apps are inherently more secure than most web-based systems due to pre-checking of apps for suspicious code before allowing users to proceed, as well as automatically pushing app updates to ensure up-to-date security. The growing availability of secure mobile apps for accessing sensitive data further enhances the attractiveness of these devices for mainstream business.
In parallel with the aforementioned advances in mobile device form-function, their non-business use and the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) phenomenon have combined to make most employees exceedingly comfortable with such platforms for work. Now is an excellent time to assess how to best leverage mobile devices in your organization.
“Mobile phones are misnamed. They should be called gateways to human knowledge.”
~ Ray Kurzweil, American author, computer scientist, inventor, and futurist