Shell has sold it Operational and Technical Task for Efficient Rounds (OTTER) technology to Honeywell http://hpsweb.honeywell.com/Cultures/en-US/NewsEvents/NewsRoom/PressReleases/Shell-OTTER_PR_01132010.htm indicating another step in the continuing push to empower field personnel so that not only do they have more information at hand such as how the process is operating in another part of the unit to make informed decisions about the impact of making changes. This will not only impact the ‘bottom line’ directly through increased throughput but also as the Press Release states improvements in HSE through reduced exposure of staff to plant conditions and of course more rapid response to abnormal situations.
Not stated in the release of course is the opportunity to lower risk by lowering staffing levels which in some ways is a ‘good thing’ because the number of skilled people in this profession is rapidly decreasing due to retirements and the concept that manual labour is not ‘good enough’ for my children. Of course for those who do become field personnel, having a tool such as this to guide them through the learning process as they gain the required experience will not only reduce the possibility of the person getting injured but because the technology will also be able to track where everyone is all the time. Big Brother is watching you.
Of course all this wonderful technology will require a reliable plant network (including no ‘dead spots’) to make it work so Industrial Network infrastructure will be a critical piece of the solution.