Interoperability: The next step in our tech evolution

While oil and gas companies continue to develop their technologies, it is imperative that they consider global interoperability as a key step towards unlimited growth. Written in partnership with SAI Global

Digital, Digitalisation, Standards, SAI Global, Interoperability

Digital transformation stands to unlock $1.6 trillion worth of value for the oil and gas industry, but that number could rocket up to $2.5 trillion if organizational and operational constraints are relaxed, the World Economic Forum wrote in 2017.

Although technology is advancing globally, it is not being developed symmetrically. Some parts of the world—and some industries—are more advanced than others, use different systems, and specific focus areas may differ.  That would be fine if each area could operate in a vacuum, but for true technological evolution, we must consider global interoperability.

While the oil and gas industry continues to grow, it makes the world seem smaller—companies from Europe are partnering with their counterparts in the Middle East, who are partnering with other companies in Asia. As we become increasingly interconnected, we must be able to integrate our technologies so they can operate harmoniously with other systems.

Planning for interoperability means unlocking growth in every direction, as the world continues to push forth its technological advancements. In creating future technologies and their related systems, integration and interoperability must be taken into consideration.

That is where ISO 15926 comes in. It is an international standard which assists organisations in creating and developing global interoperability through a common language: globally standardized data. ISO 15926 concerns the representation and exchange of data in terms of the life cycle of industrial plants. The standard specifies an ontology for asset planning in process plants, spearheading comprehensive and future-focused data integration in the oil and gas sector—it is also applicable to refining, power generation, and manufacturing chemical and pharmaceutical products.

The standard also archives important information, collecting and integrating plant life system information so that organisations can plan upgrades, optimise operations, and analyse trends. To optimize operations, we need clear communication—something that is impossible when systems are using different languages. Interoperability allows interfaces within a system to be completely understood, so it can work with other systems unrestricted by language. The importance of interoperability is that it allows organisations to consistently optimize their systems internally and externally with other organisations, breaking down barriers and limitations.

ISO 15926 creates the possibility of building common data models, simplifying complex statements and communicating information more easily. Standardising templates transforms rich semantic structures into practical components, and uses flexible but precise language for ontology building. To commit to interoperability requires agreement in four areas—Data, the format, interpretation and scope of the information to be exchanged; Delivery, the means by which the data is conveyed; Discovery, how companies, services, capabilities and data elements are identified and made accessible to all parties; and Directives, which are the local, national, cross-border, business rules and legislation that must be accounted for within the exchange process.

Article co-written with SAI Global Standards. To stay up to date with Standards and industry insights, click here.

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