Tackling infrastructure’s digital frontier

| Interview

Interview transcript

Roland Busch, chief technology officer and managing board member, Siemens: The construction market itself is the market with the lowest productivity over the years. When productivity for manufacturing was really increasing in adopting technologies, the construction market is basically running flat. And one reason is because they didn’t really adopt the new technologies.

Uwe Krueger, chief executive officer, Atkins: That has massively changed over the last three to five years. And I think it's triggered by much more consciousness of senior leadership, not only with regard to the certainty of delivery, cost and time, but also in creating new business models.

Mukund Sridhar, partner, McKinsey: Productivity has a strong linkage to profits, so there is an economic incentive for all the actors in the system to play ball and really adopt these game changing technologies.

Roland Busch: You can build a digital twin of a city, of the tunnels, of the metro, and simulate the trains running there. Including simulating any interruptions, adapting time schedules. You can run that through your system and then execute it and drive productivity out of it.

Uwe Krueger: So thinking from the very beginning, from the planning phase, how can we optimize design in order to future proof it? How can we make sure that we think about the maintenance of the assets right from the beginning?

Thomas Wolf, chief executive officer, RIB Software: If you are using this data of multiple projects so that you're not having to make the design for the next year, you can use so much design what you have done before, including all cost and time data, then it becomes a very cost efficient and productive way.

Roland Busch: You also have to tap on innovations coming from the outside world. We would call it an ecosystem if we would work in IT space. Ecosystem of external startups and ideas together with our research group. And, of course, our businesses.

Uwe Krueger: I really went out with my segmental CEOs and asked all of them to adopt and to engage with startup companies out there that we've invested in or that we've partnered with; and to kind of inhale the spirit of innovation. And really roll our sleeves up and dig deep into the technology itself; if necessary also understanding the software code or whatever it is. Really to embrace this technology wholeheartedly and then to be able to take the whole organization in this change management approach with us.

Mukund Sridhar: We're also seeing the first real deployment of private capital. So venture capitalists and private equity players are excited about this and are thinking of this as an investment thesis going forward. The pace of innovation has to be matched by a pace and process, the pace and process of sophistication.

Uwe Krueger: In a way only the combination of IOT, of predictive analytics, of digital engineering, all together done in an intelligent way makes cognitive analytics such a pervasive kind of way of looking at engineering and construction in the future. And all of that momentum that I see building in the industry, gives me that confidence that finally we are getting it.

Improving construction productivity

Global Infrastructure Initiative

Convening global leaders in infrastructure and capital projects in pursuit of new solutions