Honest conversations needed about infrastructure technology


Infrastructure leaders around the world have suggested Covid-19 offers lessons but technology adoption remains a big challenge. 

A group of industry leaders speaking at the Global Infrastructure Conference, have said effort is needed to ensure the adoption of better technology across the infrastructure sector.

Louise Adams, Chief Operating Officer at Aurecon in Australia, explained:

“When you are dealing with a rare event like Covid-19 that does put you into crisis mode, quick and clear decision-making is important and preparedness is very important to that.”

However, she warned that honest conversations need to be had about technology across the industry.

“The opportunistic side of technology will always be taken care of. There will always be an entrepreneur doing that. But we need honest conversations working with clients and colleagues to ensure we are making the best decisions based on full information.”

Anthony-Bouchard, President of CDM Smith in the USA agreed and talked about how that can be achieved.

“Forums through which we can learn what is happening all over the world are an excellent opportunity to learn best practices and drive those through our work.”

He warned, however, that some diversity of skills will be integral to successful change.

“Understanding the objectives of multiple and diverse stakeholders is important to achieving our objectives. So we need leaders to have diverse skills, be they technical, communications, or leadership attributes.”

Michael Haigh, executive chair of Mott MacDonald in the UK, put the emphasis for this on collaboration, saying “We couldn’t move forward and explore innovation without working with clients and contractors closely. So, finding a way to work in a more integrating way has probably never been more important.”

This is particularly crucial as the expansion of data opens up opportunities, he said.

“The ability to understand how our buildings really work, through data, enables us to manage our assets better and ultimately enables us to construct less over time. So technology will play a part but it won’t just come along and do it for us. There are things we can do now.”