This edition of View From The Bridge is particularly tech-heavy - undoubtedly a reflection of the way not just the lubes industry, but the world in general, is moving. From the technical complexities of sequence testing, to voice-accessing data, changing marketing mindsets and even in-car 360o selfie cameras (yes, really this OATS Bulletin has it all.)
What is evident, and certainly unsurprising, is that whether driven by regulations, environment or consumer desire, the industry is having to move at an increasingly relentless pace to keep up. For the oil majors, this also has to be set against volatile upstream, downstream and currency markets as reflected in the Q1 2019 figures.
That said, ACEA's decision to delay its 2018 sequences to mid-2020 was accompanied by the comment that, in essence, it is better to deliver something in a timely fashion with substance and sustainability than rush out a set of specifications that don't take the industry much further forward. The delays certainly haven't prevented the lubes and additive manufacturers bringing new products to market.
The complexities that come with technological progress apply not only to the practicalities of developing lubricants fit for the very latest vehicles or equipment, but also in the data and marketing that supports them.
In our article on Artificial Intelligence (AI it's clear that while computers and robotics add a significant amount to the speed and accuracy of data delivery, the human element cannot be ignored, in particular in relation to voice-activated requests - whether for "What Oil?" or other information seeking from mobile phones. In fact, regionality is an element of OATS' products and services which is a key focus for us and our customers right now.
When it comes to bio-tech, the sources of "bio" being used to create the lubricants and fuel technologies are becoming ever more left-field, including Black Soldier Fly larvae and old vehicle tyres. But the environmental benefits, particularly in generating bio-fuels through recycling of plastics and other waste, can only be welcomed.
Oh, and if you're wondering about the selfie cameras, you'll find more details in our regular EV round-up. Another example of some areas of technology getting ahead of the practicalities of delivering the infrastructure to support it.
As always, we hope you enjoy this edition of the OATS Bulletin. To find out more about our regional database developments, particularly in Asia and India, simply contact us via e-mail or call us on +44 (0)1793 616138.