Generation Touch Will Redraw Consumer Tech Article from TechCrunch

Ten years ago, young adults and those in their late teens were among the fastest and earliest adopters of new social networks — Friendster, Myspace, and ultimately Facebook — and many other products that define us today. So we should be looking to today’s generation, who people often refer to as Millennials, to predict how we will all live and connect 10+ years from now. This generation has grown up differently than everyone who came before it (including me). They have grown up in a world of constant mobile connectedness. They are as different from prior generations as were Baby Boomers who grew up with the first televisions, and earlier generations who grew up with the very first cars or electricity. They have never really known a world without Internet, mobile devices or social media.

In the past decade alone, many of the fundamentals of technology have changed, and as a result, so has this generation’s priorities:

  • This generation owns and carries significantly more mobile phones than desktop or laptop computers.
  • In a recent study, 65 percent of teens polled would rather go without a car than their mobile phone.
  • Interfaces are radically different: no longer are terms such as “keyboard shortcuts,” “save,” or even “click” as relevant as terms such as “gestures,” “share,” and “tap.”
  • As people are always connected (both to the Internet and to each other socially), there is less and less sense of privacy than ever before.

I like to call this group “Generation Touch” or GenT. What excites me the most about GenT is how differently they think about the software and products they use. At 16, I couldn’t imagine anything greater than to finally borrow my parent’s car and drive to hang out with my friends. But to GenT, their freedom exists in the form of the Internet and their devices — and it’s the new consumer products we see growing quickly that embody these trends.

This generation has very high expectations. They expect everything to work by touch. They assume no privacy by default, but also understand the intricate dynamics when they share something. They demand immediate response no matter where they are. They create more and more connections with other people — and they’re doing it in ways that can be hard for previous generations to understand.

Touch is fundamentally important here. Generation T understands and anticipates gestures at a level beyond that which people who grew up with a mouse and keyboard expect. It’s apparent when you realize that the most popular and addictive apps that this generation uses have novel ways of using touch to create deeper connections.

Touch is fundamentally important here.  Generation T understands and anticipates gestures at a level beyond that which people who grew up with a mouse and keyboard expect.

Vine or Instagram require a physical press and hold to start video capture, and a constant connection to keep capturing, broken and restarted as one releases and press again. Snapchat only shows a picture when you maintain direct contact with the screen during the fleeting moments before the snap expires. When you swipe right in Tinder (to signal you are interested in someone) you have already physically connected with that person by touching their face before you even get a response. Already I’ve heard “I’d swipe right for you” entering mainstream conversation. As we tap and swipe our screens, these visceral feelings radically change our connection with the software. If you are building anything new on mobile or tablet today, it is critical to think about gestures and how to enhance that connection in every way possible.

GenT also exists in a world constantly connected, but — perhaps unsurprising to our generation — they often feel alone. Because of that, they have been gravitating to products that help them create true personal relationships and enabling “real talk”. The social networks they grew up with made it so easy to share anything with large groups that to GenT, they have started to feel more like popularity contests than communication utilities. So, how do they take a step back? How do they find the private, real, conversations in a noisy world of social sharing? It’s the third phase that comes after social: a technology that still lets GenT interact, but can also take them away from the noisy world that they’ve been living in.

We’re seeing just the beginning of that third phase today. Myriad companies are building their products using strategies aimed at the GenT consumer. For example, in communication, the explosion of companies such as MessageMe, Kik, Viber, Line, WhatsApp, Snapchat, Tango, andWechat are evidence of the growing consumer demand for new forms of online communication — immediate, private, personal, and emotional. These technologies allow consumers the ability to express themselves through much more than just words but with stickers, pictures, selfies, video, and much more.

Even current leaders like Facebook and Twitter are going to have to work hard to stay relevant in this new world.

What is most interesting (or perhaps is just normal) is that this generation is not adopting most tools used heavily by the generation before. They barely use email or instant messaging at all, and avoid SMS as much as they can since it still costs them money. As they get new smartphones, they get much more excited about downloading their new apps and setting up usernames than getting their new phone numbers. This is similar to 8-9 years ago when incoming college students were only excited about their new email addresses so they could finally sign up for their Facebook accounts.

The companies that depend most on users actively using their email or IM accounts at the core of their networks — Yahoo, AOL, Microsoft/Windows Live, and even Google/Gmail — have already lost that part of the daily engagement of this generation. In order for them to be relevant 10 years from now, they need to be creating new products that capture this generation’s interest — starting with new forms of connecting with their friends and beyond, or defining new gestures to wrap around important experiences. Even current leaders like Facebook and Twitter are going to have to work hard to stay relevant in this new world. Tencent is a great example — not sure if you’ve realized, but Facebook isn’t the only company that just crossed $100 billion in market cap. Tencent has been a web mainstay in China with several massive communication networks. But today, it’s seen as reinventing itself through Wechat – a new mobile communication network that now has more than 400 million users worldwide.

As an investor, I couldn’t be more excited about what is happening right now. I feel like so many existing experiences can be reinvented with the right simple gestures on mobile, and the needs and wants of Generation T are going to become the foundation of many massive companies of the future.

This article is from techcrunch:

SPE Intelligent Energy International Dubai, 28-30th October 2013

The Art of Intelligent Energy 2 – A long way to go before the benefits of the Digital Oilfield outweigh the effort involved

Tony Edwards, CEO of Stepchange Global, the International Digital Oilfield Consultancy, will be speaking at SPE’s Intelligent Energy Conference in Dubai, in October.  Building on his previous paper – the Art of Intelligent Energy – Tony will be looking at the developments in the field since 2010, and explore what has worked and what still needs to be done.

Currently no one Vendor can successfully deliver across the entire value chain” he states.  “Vendors work at producing a working integrated operation based on a vertical stack, within disciplines or within one part of the oilfield lifecycle.  Much harder to achieve – though well worth the effort – is an integrated operation based on the horizontal workflow, from subsurface appraisal through to export”.

Tony will be delivering a further paper entitled “Intelligent Energy – Changing how work gets done”, a paper produced in collaboration with MIT specifically for the conference.

Stepchange Global will be exhibiting during the conference, on stand D40.  The Exhibition is free entry, and details can be found on the SPE Intelligent Energy site here:

Changing Times Article by Tony Edwards

The times they are definitely a-changing.  Walk into any major operator in Houston, Aberdeen, or Stavanger and you cannot fail to notice that people are working differently and using state-of-the-art technology to produce oil and gas more efficiently. Offices are just not like they used to be.

So what can we expect to see?  Surely it’s an office like any other?  People do their job, pass the product of their labours on to the next person in the work process and start on the next task.  That may have been true a decade ago, but what we have now is most definitely a brave new world.  No longer do people work in isolation, following serial work processes. Oil and Gas has caught on to the idea of working in a completely different way.  Rather than individual teams closeted away according to their specialism, you are far more likely to see innovative ideas such as:

•          Real-time data and information displayed on screens on the walls

•          Multiple disciplines working together as a single team

•          Live “always on” video links from the headquarters office to the operational locations

•          Vendors and service providers supporting operations in real time from remote locations

 The Quiet Revolution

This fundamental change in operations support has come about in the last decade, and continues to improve oil and gas processes.  Dubbed “the quiet revolution” by Statoil chief executive Helge Lund, it is also known as the Digital OilField, Field of the Future,  Integrated Operations, i-Field, or Smart Fields, among other names.

The constant improvement in available technology leads to improved data and information measured in wells, facilities, and pipelines, and this in turn enables a better response to changing operational conditions.  By making this data available to everyone in the organization who can add value, it allows running core value-adding processes, such as production optimization, in a “smarter” way, in real or near real time, remotely or across multiple locations, by multi-disciplinary teams.  There is a direct correlation between value chain integration and bottom line business value, and this effect is advantageous across an organization.


Santos to invest $10-$15 million Adelaide Cooper basin communications Link

ENERGY company Santos is investing $10-$15 million to build a communications network linking its Adelaide headquarters with upstream gas facilities in the Cooper Basin.

It will be the third collaboration centre at the Flinders St office to improve liaison with Santos assets in the basin.  The gas collaboration centre will link Adelaide to Tirrawarra, Dullingari and Ballera plus 14 satellite sites scattered around the basin.  It follows the recent deployment of two collaboration centres – firstly for oil facilities and then the Moomba processing plant.

“We had a vision around improving our operations by creating greater situational awareness of what’s happening in the field in remote locations,” Santos general manager for the eastern Australia business unit Nick Lagonik said.  “Then there was a lot of travelling for meetings which was inefficient.  “This gives us the capability to bring people together quickly, understand what’s happening and make good decisions – make the right decisions with the right people in the room.  “This happened as the east coast market opportunity began to become a reality so we wanted to expand our operations. We’re spending a lot of capital in Moomba and the surrounding areas – about $800 million of infrastructure upgrades.  So we wanted to get the people and processes side right with state-of-the-art communications capability to match the two up.”

The collaboration centres consist of banks of television screens which show video of people in meeting rooms, real time data charts from the field or the plant and information shared from a worker’s laptop.  Moomba gas plant manager Stephenie De Nichilo said the processing plant’s centre which opened earlier this year was geared toward efficiency.

“We’re trying to bridge that 800km gap between Moomba and Adelaide,” she said.  “Sometimes there’s an out-of-sight, out-of-mind mentality when it’s easy to forget how much support there is in the Adelaide office for the Moomba site. This has helped us bring the two parts of the puzzle together.”

Previously, Santos relied on conference telephone calls, internet sharing of data and on rare occasions a video conference.  “You couldn’t see people and you couldn’t interact with the data in the way that we can now,” she said.  “There’s two parts to it – firstly execution efficiency and secondly providing technical support to minimise risk at the plant.  “We’re still going through the journey of making these rooms as effective as possible.  It’s not a case of just putting in the technology and all your problems are solved. It’s probably 40 per cent the technology and 60 per cent the culture of how people work together.”

Ms de Nichilo said nothing could replace actually being in the field and talking to people face-to-face. But once you understood the plant and had a relationship with the people, travel could be minimised.  “I go up once a fortnight now but without the collaboration centre I’d be going up every week,” she said.  Using the high definition cameras, staff in Moomba can hold up a component they may need advice on from Adelaide.

“That’s saving us eight to 12 hours in not having to bring the piece back to Adelaide,” Mr Lagonik said.  Moomba operations superintendent Eric Bloem said the links were a strength.

“It’s given us a step change in how we operate, how we relate to people and the level of support we can get,” he said.  One of the key gains was being able to resolve any safety issues more rapidly.  You don’t want to be flippant with how you manage risk,” he said.  Mr Lagonik said the project began with about $9 million spent on the first two centres on Levels 4 and 5 of headquarters. More than 30 contractor companies have been involved.

“We decided to start small, get it right and then go to this third phase to the more complex gas operations,” Mr Lagonik said.  Real-time monitoring was already paying an efficiency dividend. “We’ve been able to improve recoveries – yields – by about 0.5 per cent by having up-to-the minute collaboration and fine tuning optimisation,” he said.  “So that’s the big stuff.”

The network uses a mix of microwave, radio and fibre operated by Santos and Telstra fibre links.  Next step will be taking portable cameras to the wells and pumps for live feeds back to Adelaide.  At this stage the collaboration centres only communicate with the Cooper Basin and do not control operations. The decision to stop short of control is for two reasons.

Firstly the cost of retrofitting plant in the Cooper Basin would be considerable.

Secondly, because petroleum is such a hazardous material any remote control system would need to have back-ups with alternative communication paths in case the principal line failed.

Santos also has established a communications centre in Brisbane which links to the gas fields in Queensland. Some of that network was to greenfields sites and was installed to be remotely operated.

This article can be found here:


BHP Billiton IROC

Stepchange Global are delighted to be working with mining giant BHP Billiton on their new Integrated Remote Operations Centre (IROC).

Officially opened in July, the centre in Perth provides a real-time view of the company’s entire Pilbara iron ore operations, many located thousands of kilometres away.  The company hope it will boost productivity without sacrificing jobs.

“This is a milestone in technology and innovation for Iron Ore and centralises control of our Pilbara-based mine, fixed plant, train and port operations in one location,” BHP Billiton’s Iron Ore president Jimmy Wilson said.

“For the first time we can see our total supply chain, in real-time and in one place, enabling us to proactively make the right decisions for the whole business.”

Productivity improvements would occur through extra tonnes shipped rather than a reduction in staff numbers, he said.  “This is about integrating all these processes across the entire business and leveraging more volume through that infrastructure.”

The IROC is staffed by 60 to 70 people, 24 hours a day, 365 days per year.

For photos inside the new state of the art facility click here:,photos-inside-bhp-billitons-iroc-control-centre.aspx/2#pic