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The Evolution of Data Transfer

Posted On: Feb. 20, 2013

Remember the days when production data from a gas meter was gathered by an operator who would drive out to the site every so many days to fetch a chart? And what was collected wasn’t actually production data… it was a recording of pressures and temperatures, which then would have to be interpreted and used to calculate flow and volumes. The delay in getting data to corporate users was significant.

Aside from the evolution of measurement devices, changes in communication technologies have been quite dynamic over the last number of years, similar to the evolution we see in technologies used in drilling, production and every-day items such as computers and even your new car. It is amazing how fast people get used to new technology, and how their requirements change. We now require values instantaneous to maximize production, minimize downtime, maximize use of manpower and we want real time data to boot... just because we can.

Huge improvement in data delivery was accomplished by the introduction of radios to fetch data as opposed to operators. Older style wireless communication systems communicate serial at 9600 baud, which – these days – cannot keep up with demands for data. Today, many more options are available to get data from a field location into a corporate environment; satellite, supernet, cellular, microwave or proprietary radio network. Today, we have to be prepared that a field communication infrastructure is part of a corporate architecture. Considerations to take into account when specifying a communication solution are (amongst others):

· Data requirements – who needs what data and how often
· Criticality of data
· Lifecycle cost of the equipment
· Location of data sources
· Corporate requirements (e.g. security, third party, cloud dependence, etc.)
· Anticipated corporate growth
· Remote access

Streamline is in a unique position to help companies determine requirements and define plans that meet a long term vision, and not only look at one field location. Communication infrastructure is a large portion of that planning, as are SCADA systems, System Architecture and software solutions that tie into the network / communication infrastructure, both on the field side as well as the corporate side.