A few weeks ago I attended the Ignite Summit to learn more about how Big Data was radically shifting the way drilling engineers accomplished their work. The summit, hosted by Houston-based Moblize CEO Amit Mehta, focused on how the company’s data analytics platform—ProACT—was improving the quality of the shale wells being drilled by harnessing the power of historic and real-time data with algorithms and computing power.

Billed as an event where drilling engineers could meet to collaborate, innovate and elevate, the daylong meeting included presentations on how the platform was being used to deliver insights into drilling operations. According to Moblize, the cloud-based platform “leverages Big Data analytics to make drilling engineers and managers smarter by doing planning, daily operations, post-well analysis and reporting via a single source of truth.”

What set this summit apart from other similar events for me and the attendees was that this event was more of a software user group meeting than a sales pitch. A user group is an organization of users of a specifi c hardware or software product that meet to share experiences and ideas to improve their understanding and use of a particular product. It is a term often associated with California’s cradle of computing genius—Silicon Valley, a place where Mehta drew inspiration for the development of the platform. The summit featured real drilling engineers presenting how they use the platform to perform a variety of tasks, like setting up multiwell correlations or determining lateral performance increases.

Think of it like this: How did you learn to use your laptop computer? Was it a trial-and-error process of learning by doing, or did someone show you how? Answering these types of questions and more were the motivation to create the summit, according to Mehta.

“We have more than 25 customers right now, and all of them signed up here in the last 14 months. We’ve experienced this huge growth that was driven primarily because everyone wants to produce oil and gas cheaper,” he said. “What drove us to do the summit were our customers wanting to know how other customers were leveraging the platform.”

The company had an “a-ha” moment with the realization that although there are many communities for users, there was no community for shale-focused drilling engineers, he noted.

“There was no single place where they could go and discuss—as operators—their best practices and learnings, both good and bad, with each other. That is what drove us to create the summit,” he said.

For Mehta, there were three key takeaways from the event. One was how, with ProACT, the quality of life for drilling engineers improved. Another was in how well the platform allows users to easily access and leverage large sets of historical data in well planning and construction.

“The third is how with the application of data analytics, engineers are working smarter,” he said. “Everyone now is focused on blind data analytics to make machines work smarter today. But the way in which we’re applying the data is making humans smarter.”

Contact the author at jpresley@hartenergy.com.