Digitalisation accelerating and enabling business continuity in COVID-19

COVID-19 has disrupted the world in ways that many of us will only experience once in our lifetime. The consequences of the crisis are enormous. First and foremost, it’s a humanitarian tragedy. And of course, it has a huge impact on economies, companies and people’s livelihoods.

Amidst this, digital technology has been a critical enabler for business continuity and the adoption of digital technology has accelerated. At Shell, to keep our own staff working safely from home, we had to quickly ramp up our information technology. This was not just for office-based staff. We have inspectors completing safety rounds from the comfort of their kitchen table assisted by robots; experts assisting technicians by looking over their shoulders thanks to augmented reality embedded in helmets.

As countries are restarting their economies – this is a key moment for us all; for governments, for businesses and individuals, to pull together. We need to make sure that as the world emerges from this unprecedented crisis, we all make the right choices for a better world. And that is why we must remain focused on the longer-term challenge of climate change.

Energy transition and digitalisation are two of the key mega trends which will have a profound impact on the way we all live our lives. They are inter-related, as Digitalisation is expected to have a significant impact on energy systems. Enabling the next generation of clean energy technology requires navigating through numerous potential solutions. Modelling and simulation, along with whole-systems engineering, are key to enable this transition. On a systems level, Shell is helping hard to abate industries, like cement decarbonize through systems level monitoring, modelling and scenario analysis. Hydrogen is another area of focus. We are using simulations with physics-based models to optimise traditional experimentation accelerating the research in methods of production, storage and transportation hydrogen.

To achieve our net zero ambition, we are collaborating to build on each other’s strengths. At Shell, our in-house capability is complemented through our work with companies such as Microsoft and who help us to scale our technologies. External research & development institutes, technology innovators and academia such as such as Indian Institute of Science, MIT, UC Berkeley, Imperial College also play an increasingly important part in our innovation efforts. We are collaborating within the Indian ecosystem to tap into the talent heartland of Asia.

We are going through a transformation and we are excited by the capability and the community we are building. Excited by the impact our projects are already having. And most of all excited about the potential that we have yet to realise from this emerging technology in the energy transition and in years to come.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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