The fact that many industry professionals don’t feel equipped to deal with this growing menace is troubling.
Infrastructure must be modernized, and the industry must become better informed about ensuring resilience and arming itself with relevant future-proofed skills.
Lack of preparedness may put some systems at particular risk. Cyberterrorist groups are playing on the fact that some of our systems are dated and, therefore, not as secure as some of the more modern systems. Obviously, the solution involves not presenting ourselves as an attractive target.
Peter Rogoff, Chief Executive Officer Sound Transit
Infrastructure professionals are aware of the unique economic and social sustainability role facing the industry over the coming decade. But new ideas and approaches are needed for industry players to prepare for what is to come.
There are signs that governments are waking up to innovation. The U.K.’s Digital Built Britain,1 a program launched in 2015, encourages widespread adoption of new technologies and industry approaches — above all, the use of building information modeling (BIM), the internet of things (IoT) and advanced data analytics.2
Another U.K. government initiative, the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC), was formed to explore how breakthroughs in artificial intelligence (AI) can increase productivity across the infrastructure network. The goal is to develop solutions for asset management, water efficiency, traffic management and the use of big data.3
The academic sector may also have a key role to play in advancing new solutions. Founded in 2002, the Centre for Innovation in Construction & Infrastructure Development (CICID) at The University of Hong Kong is helping to identify and disseminate strategies and methodologies from infrastructure innovation. The CICID also supports interdisciplinary research and has established a knowledge base of major infrastructure projects.4
Integrating new technologies can have a secondary benefit: attracting new talent. It can help solve the sector’s image problem and create a virtuous circle — an influx of new technical skills attracts younger generations who, in turn, increase the tech skills and freshen up the image even further.
Ideas from business
A substantial proportion think it will be key to meeting future sustainability challenges.
In [UK] cities like Birmingham and Reading, better transport systems have been the catalyst for wider urban redevelopment and economic growth. Yet society still thinks of railway projects as transport projects rather than economic projects. The wider benefits of having strong transportation links, on housing, on business, on jobs, rarely gets mentioned.
Mark Carne, Chief ExecutiveNetwork Rail