When it comes to new fracking techniques and proppant mixtures, the Oil & Gas industry has an amazingly fast adoption rate. However, when it comes to things like mobile applications and social media, we like to take our time. And, the rest of the world isn’t waiting for us.
The mobile application market is booming. This summer Apple’s App Store hit 650,000 apps and Google’s Play Store (previously the Android App Marketplace) hit 600,000. It’s worth noting Apple has only been selling apps for about four years, and it’s only been about three for Google Play. This means each are adding an average of over 175,000 apps every year. It seems in an environment like this, a forward-thinking industry such as ours would seek to capitalize on the opportunity. But, at the moment, we don’t appear ready to replace our desktop applications with an iPhone app.
Slow and Steady
This doesn’t mean the Oil & Gas industry is completely absent in the space. Drillinginfo recently released our free DI WellSpot app that anyone can use to find wells throughout the United States. The app even has an augmented reality feature that uses the phone’s camera to determine which wells are in your line of sight and how far away they are. Perhaps the most intricate exploration app available is Cafm’s Directional Survey. It simulates directional drilling and includes calculations and plotting of well planning and survey data. The app comes with complex Sections screens displaying Build-Up Rate, Inclination, Hold until TVD and detailed graphs. However, an operator spending upwards of a hundred million dollars to drill a well isn’t going to base their completions decisions on an app they bought in iTunes for $9.99.
So, if mobile applications aren’t truly trusted in our industry today, where do we go from here?
Google bet the farm on a browser-based operating system when they introduced the Chromebook. But, according to The New York Times, very few people share their enthusiasm. Even with many schools and fleet-based businesses that would benefit from its ability to be centrally configured and managed, the devices aren’t catching on. Therefore, the most likely candidate to carry us into the future is the same application that ships with all popular operating systems – the web browser.
Hello, Old Friend
Given that we’ve all been using web browsers since the days of Netscape and Windows ’98, at first glance, envisioning a future based around them isn’t unbelievably exciting. But, with the rapid advances in web browser technology, the future has never looked brighter. Technologies like HTML 5 and D3 JS finally give browsers the ability to map and graph. WebGL allows browsers to offload 3D graphics processing (like shading) to your graphic processing unit (GPU).
Putting this all together, it becomes clear that it’s time to move desktop applications to the web browser. Doing so will allow developers in our industry to create applications the majority of people already know how to use. This will finally put an end to IT-managed Oil & Gas desktop software, and an end to the incessant frustration said software brings into so many people’s lives.
I have already tipped our hand quite a bit, so I can’t give away too much more. However, what I can say is the future is a pretty exciting place for Drillinginfo subscribers and developers alike. You might say, the future’s so bright, I gotta wear (shades).
Now it’s your turn. What do you think next generation Oil & Gas software should look like? Leave a comment below.