Technology Record - Issue 30: Autumn 2023

100 VIEWPOINT Attracting new talent to the energy industry STAN DEVRIES: AVEVA By enhancing consistency, collaboration and gamification, digital technologies help bridge talent gaps and blend older workers’ experience with Generation Z’s creativity to drive success Around 62 per cent of Generation Z shows very little interest in the energy sector, according to the 12th edition of Deloitte’s Gen Z and Millennial Survey. Those who are interested want to get hands-on with the newest technology and work in major cities rather than rural campuses. In addition, 50 per cent of existing workers will retire within the next decade, and many see digital solutions as a threat to jobs. However, digital technologies can help address these challenges – provided they are applied effectively. Trustworthy remote collaboration solutions and intuitive, gamified experiences can improve operations and supply chain consistency. Remote collaboration improves supply chain and operations consistency and situational awareness, providing insight into current and future situations and constraints. As AVEVA CEO Caspar Herzberg says: “We’re in the industrial software world, so the processes that we run are very serious and we can’t afford a version of something that doesn’t work, or that only works nine out of 10 times. It has to be perfect from day one." Consistency boosts safety, throughput and sustainability. Energy majors have used this strategy for decades, but frontier solutions now emphasise reliability and supply chain automation. Advanced digital technologies now provide predictive and prescriptive insights, along with explanations of sometimes counterintuitive approaches – whether these are for complex reactors, energy conversion equipment, or real-time risk estimations. Remote collaboration requires trusted data to be available across software applications and accessible wherever it is needed. Automation significantly helps manage information quality and translation of names and context, including documents, time-based information, schedules and logs, diagrams and 3D representations. Digital technologies can also alert users to issues and log when technology addresses them. When this standardised information is available across software applications, users can compare performance across time and facilities. Digital collaboration also brings the facility to remote specialists, speeding up plant diagnostics and enabling teams to adapt operations in response to market dynamics. The upshot for energy and chemicals companies is the ability to harmonise team responses, blending older workers’ experience with creative problem-solving from Generation Z. For example, Suncor, an energy company operating in Canada and the USA, uses PI Asset Framework and AVEVA Process Optimization in combination with the artificial intelligence-driven anomaly detection capability of AVEVA Predictive Analytics (jointly referred to as Predictive Asset Optimisation). This helped Suncor to detect a performance anomaly in heat recovery pipes at a cogeneration unit five months in advance, enabling it to save significant costs and losses. Gamification is also helping energy businesses to achieve specific goals by using techniques such as interactive scenarios and multiple roles. For instance, leading energy enterprises are using gamification when they deploy tools