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The advice that ignited us in 2021

Over the past year, we’ve had the privilege of engaging with so many experts and leaders from across industry. Each of them shared some hot tips that we’re taking with us into a new year of digital opportunities.

1. There’s a silver lining to the pandemic for asset-heavy industry.

The pandemic has left its mark on most industries in every corner of the planet. It’s represented more of a sharp turn rather than a learning curve for most of us, which is where Accenture’s CEO Julie Sweet said we can find the “silver lining”:

“If there’s a silver lining to the pandemic, it’s that it has required companies to accelerate their digital transformations,” Sweet said. “We can use the technology to achieve our goals around sustainability much faster than pre-pandemic. This is a huge opportunity, and we should all take it.”

2. The metaverse is real, and it’s going to make all the difference for asset-heavy companies.

It was Cognite’s Co-Founder and Chief Solution Officer, Stein Danielsen, who imparted a visionary take on the buzzworthy “metaverse” for all of us in industry:

“It’s definitely not a pipe dream, and it’s already happening in the industrial world,” Danielsen said. “You could say we’re building it now. We have the 3D models and the sensors ready to enable people to experience a factory or oil platform even if they are not there—we just call it a digital twin.”

3. Methane reduction is what will help industry reach aggressive climate targets, fast.

Methane is having a moment in the wake of COP26, when the world pledged to limit this lesser-talked-about greenhouse gas in our atmosphere. Geologist Simone John of Cognite told us how this can be a quick climate win for oil and gas companies in particular:

“Methane is not a substitute for cutting carbon, but it is extremely important in reaching climate targets,” John said. “Methane reduction is already on the agenda for most in the oil and gas industry, who are focused on limiting flaring, as well as working to prevent leakage in wells and pipes, and other methane sources.”

4. Biden’s bet on wind gives reason for optimism across the entire offshore wind supply chain.

The Biden administration set an aggressive agenda for offshore wind expansion to feed a power-hungry nation, with the aim to accelerate the green shift and create a whole lot of jobs in the process. Aker Offshore Wind SVP (US) Jonah Margulis sees the potential:

“This level of commitment and transparency is unprecedented for the US and serves to increase confidence for the supply chain to make the required investments,” Margulis said. “The 30 GW by 2030 target is just the beginning of the offshore wind industry in the US, as it sets a path to 110 GW by 2050, with a significant portion of that in floating wind. We are very optimistic.”

5. DataOps is the not-so-secret anymore recipe for industrial transformation success.

The idea for DataOps may have emerged nearly a decade ago, but in 2021, it’s finally come into its own. Cognite’s CTO Geir Engdahl is a firm believer in the power of this emerging discipline to help industrial companies finally extract the true value of their data:

“Imagine a factory full of people shouting in different languages,” Engdahl said. “How do you reliably find trustworthy information needed to solve your business problem in a language you understand? That is what Industrial DataOps does for industrial data.”

6. Big Tech and Big Oil must be BFFs for us to have any chance at reaching net zero.

This wasn’t exactly the way that former Norwegian Minister of Regional Development and Digitalization Linda Hofstad Helleland said it, but it’s pretty close:

“Old and new industries need to cooperate to succeed with climate goals,” Hofstad Helleland said. “Cutting emissions in traditional industries is challenging and requires innovations from emerging tech companies. Being fit for a digital future and supporting a green deal for our societies are two targets that complement each other very well. Combining new technologies and new business models in traditional industries is therefore a smart way to achieve ambitious climate goals.”

7. Technology is our best bet to transform industry and accelerate the energy transformation.

At least according to 77% of U.S. energy leaders who answered Cognite’s survey, run in partnership with The Harris Poll and Axios Studio in mid-2021. The key findings from this survey tell us that sustainability is at stake and technology is an immediate fix:

“68% of energy leaders say their companies are not taking the proper steps to back up sustainability initiatives. 85% agree that more transparency is needed around the resources and behavioral changes necessary to improve sustainability. And 77% say transformative technology including integrated data on emission reduction is an immediate way to become more sustainable.”

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