In an example where an advance in technology helps drive advances in other vertical industries, Hewlett-Packard has announced that Royal Dutch Shell is using new sensor technology from HP to find oil.
Last year, HP rolled out advanced wireless sensor technology more sensitive to vibrations than previous generations of sensors. Working with HP, Shell has incorporated the HP sensor into a system that sends signals into the ground to help detect where oil deposits are most likely to be found.
While the HP sensors don't reduce the cost of extracting oil, they do help reduce the cost of finding it.
According to Jeff Wacker, an HP fellow and service innovation lead, his company also built a dedicated network for Shell to send the petabytes of data gathered by the sensors back to central data centers where the information is analyzed using imaging software.
HP will be using this sensor technology to drive hundreds of deals in the coming years that will rely on thousands of inexpensive sensors to feed information into back-end applications. They will become more valuable to the business as more of the process becomes automated.