An unpreceded challenge

Our unwavering commitment to our customers through COVID-19 and beyond
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04 February 2021

You might have seen earlier in the week, I spoke to Cyberhawk’s Marketing Manager, James Foreman, to reveal our “secret sauce” when it came to growing our operations worldwide, and our continued expansion in the US, despite the on-going pandemic.

In this blog, I explore some of the ways we’re supporting our customers to keep their people safe and protect their assets’ integrity during this challenging time. I’ll also discuss some of the key inspection trends I see continuing as businesses embrace digital transformation.

James: How has the pandemic impacted Cyberhawk’s customers?

Chris: Our customers tend to be businesses operating across power generation, oil and gas, and construction, and these sectors have been under an incredible amount of pressure due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Already experiencing its third price collapse in 12 years, the oil and gas industry faces its share of challenges when it came to keeping critical operations running. For utilities, the requirement to maintain a safe and resilient supply of electricity to homes and businesses across the world has always been paramount.

For these essential sectors, shutting down operations completely is the very last option and comes with severe ramifications. Thus, we’ve seen a significant rise in the need for remote site inspections to ensure operations remain uninterrupted as it’s a way to keep people apart, not touching things and thus limiting contact. It hasn’t been easy to get our people there sometimes but once we collect the data many hundreds of people can access the data remotely without leaving home.

We could say that the COVID-19 crisis has accelerated what was already shaping up to be a transformative time for these industries. They have responded with a Herculean effort to successfully and safely operate essential assets during this challenging time, and in doing so, have embraced change and digitalization.

James: How has Cyberhawk supported these businesses operate during the pandemic?

Chris: We’ve been able to help businesses across multiple sectors, including utilities, construction and oil and gas, continue to inspect and maintain their assets safely. By using images captured with the latest in drone technology, we are able to digitize their assets by building highly detailed 3D digital twins.

Since the onset of the pandemic, we’ve seen demand grow for this service. This is because it allows engineers to inspect the facility and plan maintenance virtually, meaning repairs are prioritized and focused on the most critical areas, resulting in minimal time spent on-site. They could do all this from home without having to visit the asset.

By building a highly detailed 3D digital twin for our clients, we can help our customers maintain social distancing and keep their workforce safe, whilst maintaining the safety and integrity of the assets. In doing so, it’s allowed operators to drive productivity.

In addition, our cloud-based data visualization software, iHawk, enables operators to access an up-to-date, full visual record of their assets anytime, anywhere. iHawk allows for detailed information to be shared between asset management and operations teams, senior managers, and contractors – all remotely.

By equipping teams with up-to-date, detailed asset information, we’ve transformed the way that teams stay in touch and communicate updates and risk so they can stay well-informed, regardless of where they are in the world!

Long after we recover from the pandemic, we see this trend continuing as businesses look for ways to make their operations as efficient as possible and lessen their impact on the environment, reducing the need for travel, for example.

James: How have these technologies supported businesses with COVID-19 compliance and helped them to keep their workforce safe?

Having access to these 3D digital twins, orthophotos of their sites, and detailed visual inspection data means companies are less reliant on human effort to carry out inspections, which has been proven to greatly reduce the risk to safety and minimizing the potential for human error during inspection processes.

As well as this, iHawk allows for enhanced productivity by reducing physical site visits, efficient document management, and more time on tools due to reduced asset downtime, leading to lower costs.

Shell, for example, is one company that has embraced drone-based inspections and digitalization globally. Last year, the supermajor awarded Cyberhawk a five-year, multi-million-dollar contract to use iHawk as its next-generation visualization software platform for all onshore, offshore and subsea assets, as well as all construction projects worldwide.

We also became the first and only drone operator to be approved to work on all Shell sites globally, which we are very proud of.

This followed the successful integration of iHawk at one of Shell’s construction sites, a megaproject located in Pennsylvania in the US, where it is now being used by over 800 monthly users and has been rolled out at further sites in the UK, Central America, and Africa.

You may have guessed from my recent post; I am looking forward to my upcoming move to the states! I expect that this will allow us to strengthen our relationship with our customers in the USA and help drive the energy companies to see remote technologies and the use of the digital tools available.

Until next time!