Real-time operations centers are becoming commonplace in support of drilling and production activites. Their recent proliferation and acceptance have much to do with the increasing role of information technology in society in general. However, the concept is not new. In the early 1980's several operators and service companies explored the potential for central support of remote drilling operations. Of three significant operator strategies discussed in detail one is still in place and another, although relatively short-lived, aspired to and tested a vision which is only now, twenty five years later, close to being realized. There are lessons to be learned from the early strategies. The technology has evolved at an exponential rate however; the fluctuating business cycles and organizational change challenges encountered by the pioneers are similar to those faced by today's practitioners.