Compared to the early users on the road to digital transformation, the infrastructure industry, meaning the “built environment” consisting of the man-made places and spaces where we live, work and play, could be considered a laggard. But it is a laggard with huge market opportunities – worth $ 21T annually worldwide and an annual consumption of $ 1.4T in the US, which represents 4% of US GDP.
Many of the strategic technologies we know well from rollouts in high technology, finance and other industries, such as AI / ML and data analytics, now permeate the infrastructure industry, as do other unique technology activators specific to architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC).
There is a conversation and a convergence, whereby startups become more educated about the industry, and AEC companies become more digitally savvy. AEC companies do this both to take the gravel out of the system across their internal processes and to innovate how they deliver services to customers. And venture capital firms are financing infrastructure-specific startups in construction and real estate technology that tackle tough problems in the industry.
As this conversation and digitization continues, here are ten strategic technology trends that I believe will transform the infrastructure and AEC industry in 2022:
AI / ML – As with most other industries, AI / ML is one of the most transformative technologies for the infrastructure industry, and it is at the top of many organizations’ new technological heat maps. In 2022, use cases will continue to expand to transportation, urban planning and building information modeling (BIM) and across a wide range of business functions from sales and marketing to finance and HR. In the BIM area, for example, ClearEdge3D uses AI to help automate tedious scan-to-BIM workflows, such as as-built tubing and other structural elements. For internal business processes, AI / ML will be used to use cases as diverse as win-loss analysis, work order tracking, contract workflows, and MarTech.