The infrastructure economy was already facing a collision point of global disruption, following rapid urbanisation, falling demand, and lack of capital availability. The emergence of COVID-19 piled on a new set of challenges. Though the full impact of the pandemic is yet to surface, it has already sharpened the focus on resilience. Looking beyond the immediate threats, the infrastructure economy is expected to deepen its dependency on digitisation to sustain long-term continuity.
The digitization of infrastructure operations management for infrastructure will help Engineering; Construction & Infrastructure enterprises (EC&O) lower the cost per square area of operating real estate significantly, directly affecting the bottom line. It will automate many supply agents’ processes with more efficient technology, increasing the speed and accuracy of transactions. IoT-based project portfolio management will also help EC&O companies evaluate hundreds of parameters in real time to optimise the pricing, investment strategies, and overall competitive position.
The changing industry provides excellent opportunities for industry leaders to adopt digitisation through widespread IoT adoption.
IoT in infrastructure management is disrupting the way the sector operates and the way capital projects are carried out. New and emerging technologies will play a big part in the solution to the world’s infrastructure challenges.
The widespread adoption has already redefined the way we communicate and collaborate. Further innovation and cloud-based platforms integrating with ERP applications will enable a hyper collaborative environment, bringing all the stakeholders under one umbrella. Hence, it creates communities of collaboration within different disciplines, integrating data from its wide varieties of departments, applications, and devices for better decision making.
The fallout of the crisis will test the infrastructure players, leading to changes in demand and specific affects in operational resilience, affordability and sustainability. In the digital economy, the role of IoT is constantly being shifted from a business enabler to a continuity agent and now a progress catalyst for construction players.
IoT is addressing dynamic workplace concerns like team coordination, streamline workflows, improving responsiveness and more. It generates data from all areas, right from design, construction and operations for various business outcomes. Infra players heavily rely on this data in the current unpredictable environment than business instincts to yield optimum results.
IoT bolstering construction in the post-covid reality
A customised IoT platform can be a game-changer for many developers. Not just it will help them better assess the current reality, but also leverage new opportunities. With many companies looking to pace up their overdue projects, IoT solutions will become necessary in the post-covid world. It will unlock higher project visibility through real-time tracking of construction equipment, efficiencies of equipment’s including fuel consumption and much more for developers looking to cut costs with the help of available end-to-end historical data.
The way forward
Construction enterprises can push further by integrating IoT with modern technology, including data-rich 3D models, cloud-based on-site and off-site project communications and constructible BIM for error-free construction. It is estimated that full-scale digitisation in non-residential construction alone could lead to annual savings of between $700 billion and $1.2 trillion. The cost saved can translate into higher wages to help nurture and keep human capital or invest in advanced machinery.
Increased digitization can mean multiple benefits for the industry. Hence, IoT infrastructure companies in the post-covid world would build smarter and more sustainable construction processes.
The author is Ashok Wani, Head of Technology and Innovation, HIGHBAR TECHNOCRAT