Expert Rig Maintenance Reimagined with SightCall Remote Assistance

The Client:

A multinational energy technology firm, one of the world’s largest oil and gas exploration companies, employs ServiceMax as its digital field service platform. Its diverse operations in more than 120 countries include oilfield services and equipment, gas and steam turbines, and eco-friendly energy projects such as geothermal energy, wind and hydropower.

Committed to people and the planet, the company has invested heavily in initiatives to cut carbon emissions and overall waste in its growth strategy. To enhance its global connection, it has also bolstered the remote operations and digital service solutions it offers customers.

The Challenge:

Spurred by a desire to accelerate its carbon neutrality, the company considered how it could optimize its remote equipment maintenance and repair services with a visual assistance solution.

With 20 subdivisions and thousands of engineers across the world, the stakes were high to select a digital tool that combined seamless ServiceMax integration with global portability and full compliance with data protection and privacy regulations. Other vendors the client tried provided some, but not all of these features in one tool.

Moreover, the company’s engineers had specialized expertise and were not cross trained for issue resolution, creating the need for numerous visits to offshore rigs. Deployment time was measured in a matter of weeks instead of days. Travel to a site typically involved scheduling private helicopters and marine vessels to dispatch teams of multiple people, resulting in significant costs and complicated logistics.

The company’s goal was to send one service engineer rather than three or four, and then aid that single engineer with a remote specialist. To make this process possible, the company needed to be able to collect information on-site, in real-time and feed it back instantly to its ServiceMax platform. It required quick upscaling, particularly given the travel restrictions posed by the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020. The solution needed to work on any number of smart devices and function in a variety of bandwidth environments, including the remote regions where service engineers often worked.

For widespread deployment, ease of use was especially important.

“Our teams need to be able to simply click a link,” a senior IT executive said. “Given that they are extremely busy, our engineers don’t have time to learn something completely new. Any solution we implemented would be extremely high-cost otherwise.”

The Solution:

The company selected SightCall as its virtual assistance solution, drawn to its robust features and seamless ServiceMax integration. An on-site service engineer with minimal experience could be paired with a skilled remote specialist to walk them through a project or work order, eliminating the need for multiple travelers to a site.

Using SightCall’s Smart Optical Character Recognition feature, engineers took counters from cables up to 10 meters away, collected batches of serial numbers and fed them back to the ServiceMax work order, with no manual data entry required. Working on offshore rigs, they could measure precise distances of oil platform edges using its augmented reality (AR)-enabled Smart Measure tool, with the added benefit of reduced safety risks and increased health, safety and environment (HSE) compliance.

Service engineers accessed SightCall through low-orbit satellites and handheld mobile devices to perform video call sessions anywhere in the world. The visual assistance platform, a cloud-based collection of real-time platform nodes built by SightCall’s engineers, is designed to mitigate unreliable wireless connections. It allows SightCall to offer the greatest bandwidth consumption on the market, with multiple network backups ensuring instant availability and rapid deployment of the tool. With intelligent routing technology, users are automatically connected to one of 18 data centers across five continents that will provide them the most optimal experience based on their location.

In one example, SightCall was successfully used to complete a work order involving gas equipment repair in a remote area of Russia, with no interruptions to the high-definition picture and call quality in a region that would have otherwise presented spotty connectivity.

The company’s ambition to deliver remote visual assistance to all of its locations was backed by SightCall’s full compliance with GDPR and other data protection regulations.

The Results:

With SightCall, the client saved thousands of dollars per site visit, with an overall reduction of between 400% and 500% on the outlay of travel costs alone in just six months. With other efficiency gains included, these figures are even higher.

“For a global business, SightCall was our only option, and its capabilities put us miles ahead of our competitors in terms of innovation,” one of the company’s specialist engineers said. “When we launched SightCall, it was immediately clear to us how this tool worked and the benefits it offered. Speaking frankly, that doesn’t happen often.”