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Last trends of the AECO sector

Engineers ask for data assets in city deals

The ICE report reveals why the industry needs a digital transformation

Published: 19/04/2017

Country: United Kingdom

With the aim to make a better use of the data in new building infrastructures and to improve the quality and availability of the relevant information, the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) has developed a report making emphasis on the deals needed between digital and infrastructures. With this publication, the ICE adds its voice to all the institutions that are currently asking for a closer alignment of government and ‘built environment’ data.

The report, called State of the Nation 2017: Digital Transformation, comes just a bit after the contribution of the University of Reading who have published another report that highlights how the building property industries could develop smarter places. One of the key features of this study is that the real estate and construction sectors hold big data and are using it internally, and could be used by public authorities to develop smart cities.

Although there are some obstacles in the way, there is some little progress in this area, particularly around the business value of the data.

The AECO industry needs digitalization

Deficiencies in UK’s national infrastructures are currently causing an important resent to the country’s productivity - it currently lags behind the average for G7 countries by 18%-. This is one of the key points of the ICE report, which also proves this fact could be improved with a uccessful digital transformation of the industry. The built environment is finding new potential from data in disruptive technologies such as the internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence and connected and autonomous vehicles.

“We must adopt new integrated digital approaches to manage and operate existing assets and building future infrastructure”, states the report. And adds: “We often think of infrastructure as fixed networks and assets, but the reality of this is changing.”

We need to take into account that all the associated data of a model can reveal so much information about it: “We must think not only on the physical asset, but also its digital twin. If we truly consider infrastructure as a service, then making this mental shift is essential”.

Digitalization key points 

What the industry needs to work in, is to include investment focused in the quality of data assets and also in enabling their owners and operators to map the interdependency risks in their area.

Another key point of the ICE’s report is the detected need to ensure people to develop the right skills. That’s why this institution admits its responsibility of working with the Government Digital Strategy.

As a main conclusion, despite from all the items introduced in this article, the ICE report reflects highlights a rising perception that public authorities need to work more closely with the construction sector and to develop a proper framework for data sharing and to push forward the smart places.


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