UAE Expo season and ADIPEC in review
Expo season is in full swing here in the UAE and this has given our CEO, Keith Austin the perfect reason to visit us in Dubai. As the leading oil and gas conference and exhibition in the region, our visit to ADIPEC in Abu Dhabi was certainly much more than an excuse to escape the office.
This year’s show was the 30th anniversary and also the largest to date, with over 2,000 companies exhibiting, and over 60,000 oil and gas professionals attending from over 98 countries across the Middle East, Africa and Asian subcontinent.
It’s always refreshing to attend such an event and see how the creative minds of exhibitors try to capture the immense energy of 60,000 people. As ‘mobile’ experience specialists the static nature of exhibitions in general can feel a bit limited to us, it must be a real challenge to create a memorable experience when surrounded by 2,000 peers and competitors all vying for attention. However, we noted a few great experiences from brands who were working hard to attract visitors to their stands.
The first exhibitor to catch our eye was Schneider, for the demonstration of their operator training simulators. These simulators use Oculus Rift technology to train engineers to locate and fix potential issues on oil & gas plants. The technology itself is incredible - a new virtual reality headset that lets players step inside their favourite games and virtual worlds. At EMS we are huge advocates of immersive environments and experiences and it doesn’t get much more immersive than virtual reality, we thought the experience was hugely engaging. We can only imagine how much interest it adds to the experience of undertaking training for potential new operators.
Emerson showcased a very impressive Integrated Operation (iOps) centre, which enables new ways of managing remote operations and easier collaboration from experts located anywhere in the world. This was demonstrated live by staff role-playing operations while people dialled in to the centre to report issues. Live monitoring and troubleshooting was taking place, and helicopters and boats were being deployed to resolve issues at the same time. Meanwhile this activity was being monitored and tracked on a large screen that visualised all of the plants involved. As a non oil & gas specialist, this demonstration was a great introduction to the operation, and brought to life the critical situations faced every day by personnel working in the industry, as well as the infrastructure and communication required to maintain service and reach production targets.
The multi layered challenges reminded me of the situations our logistics team face when managing numerous vehicles on tour in various locations around the world – I’m sure they would love a similar solution!
The real highlight for us however was the Young ADIPEC edutainment zone. Aimed at engaging the next generation about an industry which has built and defined this region, it was full of interactive, hands-on digital and real experiences to help students learn and have fun at the same time, including a photographic competition, treasure hunt, field trips and innovation zone. These experiences were provided by international and local brands, including the Petroleum Institute, which created a purpose-built laboratory, carrying out fun, live experiments related to the industry. You can see the excitement and interest captured by The National newspaper here, and given the industry’s concerns about the lack of emergent skill required for the next generation of oil and gas workers in the region, we couldn’t help but think how much of an impact it would have if this experience could be taken on tour, directly to schools around the country, indeed the region, in addition to saving the time and resource required to staff a number of field trips.
We were also drawn to thinking about what a shame it was that the interaction and engagement of hands-on experiences seemed to be limited to the young people’s zones, particularly given the average age of people working within the oil & gas industry (49 years, according to Deloitte), who are still presumably still looking to be engaged, educated and inspired.
Experiencing ADIPEC was well worth the time invested, as with all exhibitions and trade shows, it was a great opportunity to see how brands showcase themselves for their audience. There’s also something incredibly rewarding about immersing yourself in a specific industry for one day and simply learning. All in all it made for a perfect day out of the office!