Oil & Gas Leaders Looking to Silicon Valley to Maintain Competitive Edge



Technological Shift

There was a time when a global energy boom would shift the population centers of small towns across the US. Wildcatters would chase rumors of salt domes and bubbly water sources, hoping to find a strike that could be sold and eventually developed by one of the oil & gas operators dominating the industry. Tales of lucky hunches, crude operations, dangerous workplaces, and old-fashioned elbow grease dominated the lore of oilfields past.

While success still usually comes through good old-fashioned hard work, today’s energy industry is rapidly growing physically, economically and technically.  The landscape of the industry is continuously evolving, but today many of the primary challenges are no longer mechanical in nature. Instead, we are trying to better understand data and to deal with communication and information gaps that come from a business model where assets are remote in the field and capital management is downtown at headquarters. Bridging this gap between HQ and the field has become a priority for many operators as they work to maximize profits and to maintain a safe and productive workplace.

New innovations in science and technology are continuing to develop groundbreaking efficiencies that maximize capital and sharpen the competitive edge that creates shareholder value. As these innovations propagate on a parallel axis, previously unknown synergies between Silicon Valley and the energy industry have become increasingly apparent.

Here’s how one tech company, Ondaka, has been able to provide a simple turnkey service that is dramatically changing operations in many phases of the oil & gas industry.


The founders of Ondaka initially created a proprietary visualization platform that utilized Artificial Intelligence technology to shrink the vast expanse of North America’s burgeoning energy industry. Upstream operators based in Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, Colorado and Texas needed a better way to keep an informed eye on assets spread across the continent.

Field personnel were thrilled to learn of a system that not only created visual digital twins that accurately identified complex facilities down to each nut and bolt, but that these visual platforms also housed all of the associated data and documentation they needed to do their jobs in a safe and timely manner. Management teams were excited about the prospect of creating virtual touch points with assets located anywhere in the world.

The AI-based technology behind Ondaka’s platform utilizes machine learning to collect data inputs from experienced oil & gas personnel and existing operator databases. The secure technology then uses complex algorithms to visualize locations, identify assets and surface the corresponding data (like service agreements, maintenance schedules, site permits and geo-coordinates) in a manner specific to the clients’ needs.

With each new deployment, the AI-technology gets smarter. And with Ondaka’s rapidly growing client base, the oil and gas industry is taking notice of significant value-add outside of traditional upstream applications.

And so it began.


Ondaka technology has been identified as a cutting-edge stakeholder engagement tool. An unconventional E&P company has created an in-depth educational campaign utilizing Augmented Reality (A.R.) to provide rig and facility tours for a local community. The company is providing a user-controlled inspection experience to clear common misinformation and build a better understanding in the surrounding community of the nuances surrounding urban drilling.


The same technology is being used to simplify GIS data access. One client was already conducting aerial maintenance inspections with both manned and unmanned aircraft. Ondaka is marrying visual data from both of these sources with FLIR, erosion reports, and construction timelines to automate the operator’s visual analysis, simplify the identification of pinch points in development and condense due diligence periods for asset sales.


A leading engineering firm immediately immersed Ondaka’s technology into its portfolio of high-end services. They now are using Ondaka technology as the user interface on the front edge of the industry’s most demanding Process Safety Management requirements. For on-demand “hands-on” training in Augmented Reality and intuitive document and process accessibility, Ondaka’s natural scalability and seamless implementation meant that both compliance programs and industry-leading health and safety programs were an immediate fit. Furthermore, they’re now able to provide detailed 3D assessments of their client’s world-class refining facilities simultaneously, from handheld device and PCs anywhere in the world.

With their ability to capture images and data and uniquely weave them together with AI, Ondaka is rapidly becoming the visual backbone of the digital oilfield.

What’s Next

Energy industry leaders are defined by their ability to pivot and be amenable in the face of an ever-shifting landscape. Gone is the need to physically be on-site; instead companies are looking for ways to optimize their assets and to work smarter. Turnkey solutions are paramount, and though the Ondaka platform was initially deemed to be “too new” or “unproven” for some in the industry, others quickly leveraged Ondaka technology and realized immediate efficiency improvements. And as the AI keeps growing and learning, so will Ondaka and their clients.

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