Insight vs. Hindsight

Insight vs. Hindsight

I saw the comparison between Insight vs. Hindsight recently in an article I read about efficiency. I immediately thought about what I do every day – integrate sensors on existing well sites. These sensors collect real-time data which is sent to the cloud and delivered to computers and mobile devices. It’s amazing what we can do with so much information at our fingertips today!

Do you ever wonder sometimes, like I do, how we got anything done without our smart phones? We were inefficient! Cell phones became affordable to the masses just after I graduated from high school. If I wanted to hang out with my friends in high school, I would pick up the corded land line and call their parents’ homes to see if, by chance, they were there. If not, I would jump in my parent’s car and start driving around to locations where my friends usually ended up. I wasted a lot of time, gas, and money seeking social interaction… or maybe I just couldn’t take a hint… Fast forward 15 years and I know exactly where each individual friend is and waste no time wondering where, when, or with whom I will be spending time. If my life was a production (and it sometimes is), communication, clarity, and immediacy turns my world into a streamlined, and yet complex story. It’s complex because I have to make sense from the influx of information from many sources. It’s streamlined because I have intell that empowers me to use my time more efficiently. Then there’s my wife, my family, and my friends who add the drama to said production. Better insight into the lives of those in my personal circle helps me alleviate some of the drama that I encounter when making decisions exclusively from hindsight.

My brother-in-law was interviewing for a new job recently and the interviewer asked him about a time when he failed at work, to which he responded, “Hindsight is 50/50”. He meant to say “Hindsight is 20/20” and realized afterword that his original statement is so often valid. Hindsight isn’t always clear; it doesn’t always tell us the truth. That’s why we do our best to preface our decisions with relevant insight.

When I ask small and large oil producers how they monitor their tanks, a majority of them describe a scene that eerily reminds me of driving around town on a Friday night looking for my friends! Oil field pumpers drive around every day similarly reaching out to their “friends”, or in other words, their oil wells. These wells don’t call the pumper, they don’t let him know when they’re halfway full, about to overflow, or are too tired to keep pumping. These wells are selfish, and make the pumper manually dig for their secrets, demanding time and attention. Who wants a high-maintenance friend?  EP Energy, located in the Uinta Basin in NE Utah, began instrumenting their wells with sensors a few years ago. Each pumper was immediately able to manage three times the number of wells with real-time sensor insight. I imagine it’s because with better data and analytics, they were able to:

  • Spend less time at each site
  • Reduce operational risk
  • Improve efficiencies
  • Reduce the cost of maintaining equipment
  • Avoid unplanned down time – a huge cost savings to the bottom line.


An article by Ravi Kalakota called “Power of 1% Improvement – ROI & Use Cases for Industrial Big Data”, said that the Oil & Gas industry would see $90 Billion in saving from reduced capital expenditure with the introduction of machine-based, automated, predictive analytics powered by the Internet of Things (IoT) which is commonly used for asset management, transportation optimization, and supply chains. Here is a nice chart from GE that puts the ROI of IoT and instrumentation into perspective:


In the name of efficiency, it’s time to make our well sites smarter, more automated, and more easily managed by fewer people. It’s time to collect and analyze data that drives decisions from insight rather than from hindsight. Check out Kodiak’s liquid level tank monitors, pump sensors, and other oil field sensors to see a greater ROI in your oil field.

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