What if you could see the scale of the challenges you face more clearly, and work out how to resolve them more effectively? Infrastructure 4.0 – the integration of digital technology with physical assets – holds that promise. Mike Haigh explains why Mott MacDonald is embracing it and urges others to do so too, by taking forward the recommendation of a new report from the World Economic Forum.
‘Our purpose is to improve society by considering social outcomes in everything we do, relentlessly focusing on excellence and digital innovation, transforming our clients’ businesses, our communities and employee opportunities.’
We arrived at this purpose after looking long and hard at what we do and why we do it – and considering the ‘what and why’ of the clients we support. We’re an engineering, management and development consultant, working with infrastructure owners and their supply chains worldwide to meet their objectives, which fundamentally involves delivering essential services to society: mobility, energy, water, shelter, healthcare, education.
Every organisation we work with and the people we all serve in society face shared challenges that, right now, include recovery from COVID-19 and its social and economic impacts, along with developing resilience to future pandemics. There are many more challenges besides.
The connectedness and interdependency of our infrastructure adds complexity that infrastructure owners and their suppliers historically lack the means to fully comprehend or manage.
But their ability to do so is emerging with the rise of ‘infrastructure 4.0’, which is about applying the fourth industrial revolution – the integration of digital technologies with physical entities – to infrastructure. The premise is simple: better data produces better information which enables better decisions.
Infrastructure 4.0 holds the potential not just to address the challenges but to pursue new opportunities to improve social outcomes, supported by better environmental and economic outcomes.
It is why I am excited by the advent of infrastructure 4.0 and Mott MacDonald’s role in working to apply it. And it is why I believe others should do so too.
Get reading, start transforming
I very much encourage all involved in planning, investing in, creating, managing and sustaining infrastructure to read an important new report from the World Economic Forum, ‘Infrastructure 4.0: achieving better outcomes with technology and systems thinking’. It makes 13 recommendations to facilitate the evolution and ultimate transformation of the infrastructure industry, to extract the greatest possible value from existing assets and plan new infrastructure that is truly fit for the future.
If you’re part of our great industry, providing essential services to society, you should be alert to the benefits infrastructure 4.0 could deliver for you, your clients/customers and society.
For me the prizes are clear: infrastructure that better supports social inclusion and resilience, strong net-zero carbon economies, regeneration of our over-stressed environment, and better value from investment.
The author team for ‘Infrastructure 4.0’ consulted 45 international experts representing diverse views of infrastructure. The project was co-chaired by Mark Enzer, chief technical officer at Mott MacDonald.