IoT is a hard pitch to CIOs in energy sector admits IT vendors

Panel discussion

A panel discussion aimed at defining India’s current situation with regards to access to open data in the implementation of IoT initiatives in the energy sector was organised in New Delhi to offer a platform to discuss how cloud companies, telecom companies and the government, can partner with the Indian energy organizations to create innovation. A report by Sandhya Michu.

The Internet of Things (IoT) represents a new reality. The insight derived from data collected from new Internet-connected devices can be used to develop new services, enhance productivity and efficiency, improve real-time decision making, solve critical problems, and create new and innovative experiences. However, as more devices connect, companies face increased fragmentation, interoperability, and security challenges. But, is it a simple pitch for IT giants like Oracle and SAP to sell it to Indian CIOs or is it a nightmare?. Are CIOs ready to embrace IoT and having a vision to reality conversation and harness the existing ecosystem to undergo the digital transformation. Are IT companies doing enough to understand the pain points of the energy sector and helping them to think IoT as a serious business opportunities. Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) organized a 2nd edition of National IoT summit to understand the benefits of IoT in the Indian energy sector.

Speaking at the National IoT summit held in Delhi Abhimanyu Prabhavalkar, Vice President-IoT, Oracle India said, “Selling IoT to Indian CIOs is not an easy task. It is indeed hard to pitch IoT to CIOs as the awareness and readiness to integrate IoT with the existing IT infrastructure is not that easy as IT vendors feel. Having said that, we want to take small steps to convert IoT into business outcome.” Oracle has been focusing and building solutions around IoT for the energy sector, is delivering integrated, scalable hardware and software solutions specifically designed to meet diverse market needs that seamlessly integrate into the existing energy infrastructure to enhance security, reliability, and efficiency.

Agreeing to Prabhavalkar, Neeraj Athalye, Head-S4/HANA, GST adoption, Leonardo, India subcontinent, SAP India Pvt Ltd added, “SAP launched IoT solution a couple of years back as a solution portfolio. Over the last 3-4 years we realized any engagements, we get into, be it with paint manufacturers, pharma and automotive, within a short span of time we realize that the IoT data which comes in need to analyze through machine learning to make sense out of it, we need to connect this data with some different systems and then all this data put together is able to create a new innovative business process and that is what transforms the organization.”

While giving the consumer side of the story, Deepak Agarwal, Executive Director-Information systems of  Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) Ltd mentioned, “At IOC, we have started looking IoT from bringing operational efficiency in our refineries and pipelines and other part is enhancing consumer’s experiences. For us IoT, is a ‘hype’, we are very careful in adopting IoT today, we are doing a very small PoC at our Panipat refinery with GE.Deploying of senors in oil refineries and pipelines are actually safe or advisable or not as each sensors come with batteries. No body talks about safety regulations of IoT solutions. We are ready to be an early adopter of IoT in Oil and gas as we have started off on this journey of digital transformation.”

Managing voluminous data
Today, several companies are making an investment in newer technologies such as IoT, augmented realities to simplify the voluminous data but most of the CIOs are finding it challenging in true business outcome.
Agarwal of IOC highlighted, “Currently, we are not doing any analytics on voluminous data coming from our refineries. As it requires predictive maintenance and asset management utilization. On the consumer side of our business, today we have data of more than 10 crores of LPG customers available with us. We want to utilize this data for innovations, but due to Privacy Law comes in. We have to cautious about how much data is exposed to the mobility applications and how these data set can become open, is still a question mark. The third set of challenge is dependence on other ecosystems. At IOC, we want to access the data of ocean data, how many ships are traveling in the oceans, if we get to know the locations of these ships like Uber and Ola tells. If these data is available to IOC from different ecosystems. It will save thousands of crores for the corporation.”

Responding to Agarwal challenges, Prabhavalkar of Oracle said, “As we know energy and manufacturing companies have been having a big data for last many years, what did not exist is capabilities of doing analytic on such older data. Being a technology company, we are working on a solution which are easy deploy and use at the end can derive meaningful data and bring value to the customers.”
He also pointed that, “There are certain amount of inherent complexities involved with the existing data systems such as connecting the network with certain protocols. Today, the biggest challenge for a CIO is how he is going to communicate RoI to the board. In my opinion, we need to have a singular focus on the business outcome. Today all the talk is about device protocols. Companies should start small and start with the business outcomes.”

Different chakras of business process
Today SAP has 25000 customers, of which 500 customers who are largely industry manufactures are looking IoT as a big bet. “We are helping companies in identify the chakras of your organizations with the help of data scientists. There are various themes which exist in the market which help organizations to go through the digital transformation. Invariably, Today 90% of the IT projects contains IoT . For any company who is looking for IoT, should understand what theme is relevant to pick for the design thinking and then we come up with a new approach for building IoT, concluded Athalye.

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