The oil and gas industry has been a promising one for machine-to-machine communications, and Redline Communications Group is making it a priority.
The Toronto-based company recently received a $2.7 million contract to provide the first phase of a high-speed wireless network for a local Argentina subsidiary of a "super major" energy company. It marks the second large network deal in Argentina that Redline has announced in the last several weeks.
Redline's RAS product was specifically designed without any moving parts for operation in remote areas such as oil fields, where it enables real-time M2M communications, SCADA, automation control, high definition video, Wi-Fi and VoIP directly to a vehicle, rig, portable office or other movable asset.
For this customer in Argentina, Redline will be providing a single integrated high-speed wireless network across the entire oil field operation, enabling services such as real-time remote monitoring and control for thousands of wells.
The network deployment also will allow for collaboration between remote teams at drilling sites and elsewhere in the world to improve productivity and problem solving; enable access by field workers to office documents, corporate systems and the Internet; and provide for operational video surveillance for visibility into remote operations.
Customers in the oil and gas sector accounted for 73 percent of Redline's total order value for the third quarter of 2014. Among the five orders for new oilfield networks were two large contracts for digital oilfield networks from two new South American customers, as well as a smaller order in the U.S. for an oilfield owned and operated by a "super-major" oil company, one of the five largest publicly-owned global oil and gas companies, the company said in a press release.
Redline CEO Robert Williams took the opportunity during the company's third-quarter earnings call to remind everyone that the company's goal is to become the market leader in wireless networks for oil and gas. "When we say the market leader, we mean the biggest market share," with the best reputation and most knowledgeable staff, he said. In short, "we want our networks installed in every oil field."
The company initiated a record 12 new pilot projects in the third quarter and hit its goal for initiating 20 pilots total for the year. The company says it now has 22 prospective customers piloting its products in actual field environments, paving the way for more deployments to add to the 39 Redline networks that are already in place around the world.
While Redline uses a combination of technologies, including Wi-Fi, its $2 million acquisition of PureWave Networks, a privately held LTE wireless technology company, will allow it to offer mobile services over longer distances.
The company also sees potential for expanding its addressable markets further into public safety, where it is already strong in supplying networks for video surveillance. Some LTE spectrum has been set aside for the exclusive use of public safety organizations, and the company sees potential business in selling an LTE product into that market as well, Williams said during the earnings call.
The company is targeting the fourth quarter of 2015 to have production product quantities available from the integration of PureWave and it will be conducting pilots in the third quarter of 2015.
The oil and gas sector continues to represent a growing business for M2M. A recent survey by ON World of 220 industrial automation professionals found that more than three-quarters of the oil and gas respondents have wireless sensor network (WSN) deployments. In addition, four in 10 of the vendors and end users have deployed WSNs with at least 100 nodes, compared to 20 percent in the previous survey by ON World, while 9 percent have deployed networks with at least 1,000 nodes, compared to 4 percent in 2012, according to a Connected World report.
New drilling techniques and wireless technologies, like WSN, have transformed North America from a heavily dependent importer to the largest global producer, according to ON World. During that time, WSN has been deployed in mass quantities, everywhere from offshore platforms to arctic oilfields. The research reports WSN automation systems integrated with cloud connected production optimization solutions create a potential cost reduction of up to 80 percent.
Most of the oil and gas respondents believe personal monitors are likely to be used at their organization, with 28 percent likely to use smart watches and 11 percent smart glasses.
Alvarion powers pay-per-use Wi-Fi in Alaskan oil camps
'Pocketsourcing' turns smartphones into passive sensors to drive location apps
ConnectSense offers a Wi-Fi alternative for sensors