Digital disruption in the industrial gas industry has finally begun with an Internet of Things (IoT)-compatible cylinder package. Along with operational and safety benefits, could this development disrupt the industry as we know it?

We’ve seen the Rolls Royce intelligent engine collecting real-time data to prompt remote maintenance and John Deere’s agricultural machinery that alerts farmers to irrigate.

Now there’s the gas cylinder package from BOC that feeds back instant information to an app or web portal. The EVOS™ DCi cylinder reports on:

• where it is
• how full it is
• what gas it contains
• gas usage patterns

Businesses can see the usage of each of their cylinders and of the total stock, including the date and time of last use. Guesswork about cylinders’ contents and usage will become a thing of the past.

The benefits of real-time insight
In the short term, the cloud-based data intelligence that these 33-litre and 50-litre 300 bar concept cylinders provide will help businesses gain unprecedented insight into their gas usage and operational costs.
They’ll be able to create productivity benchmarks for tasks and projects, and devise efficiencies or training needs based on facts. Abnormal spikes in usage will be easily identified and looked into. Gas is more likely to be bought only when needed, and in the right quantities, cutting the number of emergency orders and over-stocking.
With no need to check cylinders manually, valuable working hours will be freed up – a real time-saver on big sites, such as universities and fabrication plants. In addition, cylinders are unlikely to ‘go missing’, and full cylinders won’t get mixed up with empties.

Health and safety benefits
Future features for the EVOS™ DCi are still being developed. But already thanks to the real-time information the cylinders are providing, in the unfortunate event of a fire or accident, fire officers arriving at the scene would know the status of any EVOS DCi cylinders on site immediately.

An industry game-changer?
But far more importantly, in the long term, these digitalised cylinders are likely to herald a radical transformation of how the gas business operates. For the first time, thanks to the cylinders’ data and their ability to connect with the IoT, businesses can get real insight into the role of gas in their operations and costs.
Now that gas data is finally visible and can be combined with other application information, the way gas is charged for may well change the industry norms.

Feedback and personalisation
What happens next in the development of the EVOS™ DCi all depends on customer feedback to BOC.
Customers are being asked to specify which data given by the EVOS™ DCi is most valuable to their business, and what other information they’d like. The cylinder will then be developed and enhanced in response, extending the functionality of the software and adding new features.
On this basis, it could be that personalisation – a watchword of digital products and information – could be applied to gas market segments. Could we even see different sectors, such as defence, power or fabrication, getting packaging and pricing tailored to their specific gas applications?

Learning from Silicon Valley
The soft-launch approach of the EVOS™ DCi takes a leaf out of Silicon Valley product development with its focus on user experience, or UX as it’s known. It’s being developed in an iterative and collaborative way – tested, modified, tested again, and shaped round users’ needs – standard practice in digital tech and software operating systems, but unheard of in the gas industry – until now.

From delivery to ordering, and every point in between, it’s never been easier to know what’s going on with your gas cylinder usage.
Find our more at the EVOS DCi website.

Piers Capper
Packaged Development Manager