Future Infra-Tech Trends
Global Technology Trends
The development of technologies continues at pace globally and the development in other sectors will influence the application and uptake of technology within our infrastructure.
Technology Trends - Infrastructure
Within this global technology environment, industries are investing, experimenting and repurposing these technologies for application within our built environment and infrastructure. Various sectors are creating communities and new market places where collaboration, research and implementation is unlocking the value of these technologies.
Fig 2: Technology Communities by sector/specialism
Across all these communities, technologies are being developed that will support and interface with our buildings, cities and infrastructure.
Never before have we seen the level of investment in technologies that can be applied across the asset life cycle and ultimately improve the assets performance. Key technology trends at three stages of the asset life cycle include:-
Planning & Investment Stage
Within the planning and investment stage a current trend is one of bringing together new and existing information sets to derive enhanced knowledge and understanding. Key technologies trends for this stage include:-
- Geospatial technology
- Detailed and informed analytics tools and software.
- Augmented & Virtual Reality - To support community engagement and stakeholder engagement.
- Scanning & Reality Capture of the existing estate.
- Digital Estate Management Systems & Software.
The delivery stage is one of continuing development and application. The construction sector is witnessing a middle out approach whereby heavy investment is being made by the large contractors and their technology providers. Key technology trends for this stage include:-
- 3D Design Modelling
- Information Management & Design Software
- AR & VR technology - Support design, health & safety etc.
- Robotics - For monitoring, manufacturing,
- 3D & 4D Printing
- Wearable Technology
- Platform design technology for built assets
- Autonomous Vehicles
- Material technology
- Scanning & reality capture technology
Fig 3: B1M Construction Tech Trends
Operational Management Stage
When taking a performance led approach to new technologies, the operational management of an asset offers significant opportunites. Key technology trends for this stage of the asset life cycle include:-
- Smart Buildings
- Internet of Things
- Digital Twin
- Predictive analysis
- Mixed Reality technology for maintenance
Technology Trends Across The Whole Asset Life Cycle
In addition to the key technologies emerging at various stages of the asset life cycle, there are existing and developing technologies that will impact across the whole asset life cycle. Some of these technologies include:-
- Digital Twin
- Artificial Intelligence
- Cloud computing to manage information.
- Distributed Ledger Technology/Blockchain
Responding to Future Change
The opportunity today, is to explore, identify and apply value driven technologies which are available. In parallel, it is important that the public sector and industry continue to upskill and create an environment that can respond to future digital change. Industry will need to respond to:-
- New disruptive technologies
- Disruptive business models changing how we planned, deliver or managed our infrastructure
- Future demand being placed on our infrastructure.
- The future performance requirements placed on our infrastructure.
All these factors will ultimately continue to refine the value proposition upon which technology should be seeking to support and enable.