Intelligent Infrastructure – Are We Ready?

Rebekah Valero-Lee Building, Construction and Infrastructure


In an increasingly digital world demand for new types of skills are at an all-time high. As intelligent infrastructure technology becomes part of mainstream delivery solutions, up-to-date skills are highly sought after. But how dependent are we on infrastructure? Will these technological innovations have an everlasting impact on the industry itself? And, ultimately, are we ready for this?

Infrastructure all around us

Infrastructure has a profound effect on our quality of life, but one that we only really appreciate when things go wrong. Power cuts? Traffic jams? That’s when we notice.

Urbanisation complicates matters further. For instance, each week cities are growing by 1.5 million inhabitants, and by 2050 more than two thirds of the global population will be city dwellers.  Therefore, as our cities develop, the way we build and manage urban infrastructure has never been more critical in relation to global economic and social development.

The technological impact on our roads

Surprisingly, research has shown that technology and automation will have a more significant impact on the roads sector in the UK than Brexit. This research indicates that the sector is confident that political change will not affect growth, and consequently is more than ready to adapt to technological change. However, there is no doubt that the sector will need to gear for structural change as a result of technology advances. This is already evident with highways clients, who are beginning to specify or trial the replacement of labour intensive activities with automation or technology. For example drone surveys, the use of off-site construction and mandating the use of BIM in design.

Widespread development

This widespread development and acceptance of these innovations is driving change in the conventional composition of design teams and, in turn, will have a significant impact on construction productivity. On the other hand, the consequences of these changes raise important questions about how such skills in the industry will be valued, paid for and subsequently brought to the market, especially within the highways industry.

Great news for techies

In terms of skills and recruitment, this research highlights the need for clients to be adaptable in order to attract new types of candidates to the sector to fill this technological skills gap. But, it’s great news for techies as STEM skills as in high demand within the industry as well as specialist competencies such as BIM – check out some available roles in infrastructure now.

 To find out more about the latest UK infrastructure projects, check out our blog on Triple H – Hinkley, HS2 and Highways.


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