Companies involved in oil and gas exploration, pipeline operations and refining demand safe, secure and reliable communication technologies to help them manage their often hazardous operations in some of the world’s most demanding environments.
Imagine a scenario where drilling operations on a major oil explorer’s offshore platform are slowing, or at risk of stopping altogether because of abnormal readings from a number of drilling sensors. This has far reaching implications and is precisely the reason why Motorola listens and continues to develop new voice and data products and solutions.
The tools for collaboration
Take our WAVE Work Group Communications solution for example. Developed and refined over 10 years and widely deployed throughout the world in military, public safety and commercial worlds, WAVE is the only software platform today that can provide seamless interoperability between disparate radio systems (ASTRO25, TETRA, MOTOTRBO (DMR) as well as older Motorola systems and those from other vendors). It also extends radio communications over other networks to a multitude of different devices: smartphones, PCs, desk phones and enterprise collaboration applications. Then there’s the radio-like push-to-talk (PPT) communications between smart devices over any 3G/4G LTE network as an over-the-top service.
Delivering instant and secure end-to-end PTT communications capability throughout the enterprise helps drive engagement and team collaboration; both essential in any industry where efficiency of operations drives bottom line performance. That’s why WAVE is already generating so much interest with upstream and midstream operators that see the many operational and safety benefits of connecting workers when needed, regardless of their location or the device they carry.
Let’s see collaboration in practice
So, going back to my earlier scenario where abnormal readings are causing havoc on operations, let’s put WAVE to the test and demonstrate how it brings together multiple systems and works to alleviate the impact.
It’s the weekend, but real-time data delivery to the central control centre means managers are already aware of the issues and are talking directly to platform personnel from PCs equipped with WAVE desktop clients that allow PTT communications on multiple talk groups.
In an adjacent meeting room, a team of supporting staff has gathered to discuss the problems they are seeing and to troubleshoot with the platform team in real time. A WAVE bridge is allowing everyone in the room to participate in the conference call, which also includes the control room staff at their consoles as well as remote personnel that have been alerted and who have dialled into the call.
The operator of this particular platform has a headquarters building on another continent where it helps its 3,000+ employees communicate and collaborate better with Microsoft Lync, a unified communications platform. Some of these project management and engineering staff have Lync clients that are enhanced with a WAVE plugin that allows them to also participate in real time, secure PTT with platform workers and others directly from their Lync desktop, thus avoiding the need for a separate PC application. Hundreds of engineering and systems professionals are now working the platform issues, collaborating, communicating and understanding what the problems are and how they can be solved.
An important member of the engineering team is not in the office but has been contacted. He’s at a family get-together. Fortunately he can use any available PC and brings up a WAVE web browser application to access the same communication channels available to the other operations staff. His contributions are critical and timely. He takes out his iPhone and signs in to this WAVE mobile client. A wireless headset allows him to rejoin the family while discreetly listening into the ongoing troubleshooting. If necessary he can step aside and use his iPhone and push-to-talk again.
Before long, a solution has been agreed by the expanded team. A faulty piece of drilling equipment needs to be replaced and the platform support and maintenance provider has been contacted to see if they can find and deliver the required equipment. This provider uses Microsoft SharePoint to manage its global parts inventory portal and a WAVE plugin for SharePoint allows a dispatcher to work directly with the platform workers and on-shore support teams to correctly identify the needed component and prioritise its collection and shipment to the platform.
Although this is a fictitious scenario, the WAVE use cases are entirely real. With WAVE Work Group Communications, you will never have to worry if your key onshore and offshore personnel are on ‘your’ network with the right device. WAVE removes barriers to full and complete collaboration and communications interoperability, regardless of network device and user location.
This article is an edited blog by James Mustarde, broadband PTT product marketing manager, Motorola Solutions.