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Future proofing infrastructure at Autodesk University 2014

Autodesk University 2014- Infrastructure session

Attendees at the the Infrastructure Symposium of Autodesk University 2014
Image Source: Autodesk InfraWorks 360 Twitter feed

Las Vegas, 1 December, 2014: Infrastructure is on top of the agenda for most of the countries across the world. With about $ 57 trillion worth of infrastructure demand across the world, the sector is clearly getting investment attention of the world. However, the industry need to take the realities of the present world like climate change into consideration and design smarter infrastructure that would sustain for the next 100 years, opined Amar Hanspal, Senior Vice President, IPG Product Group, Autodesk.

Speaking at the opening session of the Infrastructure Symposium of Autodesk University 2014 here, Amar said that infrastructure projects are more constrained now than they were 100 years ago. Projects are bigger now and the dependency on big data and internet of things higher. Transparency is the key and the involvement of public that is impacted by the infra projects is very important.

Autodesk strives to streamline the technology substrate on which design and engineering is done and BIM is the most important aspect. BIM provides a uniform experience across horizontal and vertical infrastructure. “Most people think of BIM as a 3D model. In the long run, while 3D is the starting point, the real value lies in the I (information). Governments around the world are pushing and mandating the use of BIM because they are interested in the entire lifecycle of infrastructure and in creating sustainable infrastructure. It also provides a common digital backbone for the entire lifecycle of the infrastructure. Though the adoption of BIM is still in its infancy, the snowball effect is just starting,” Amar said.

Doug Eberhard, Senior Director, Infrastructure anchored showcasing a series of interesting best practices in infrastructure segment. The occasion also saw the felicitation of the winners of the Autodesk Excellence in Infrastructure Awards 2014.

In another interesting panel discussion on “Designing for an Evolving Society – The Future is Now”, Terrry Bennett, Senior Industry Program Manager, Infrastructure of Autodesk steered top executives from consulting firms discuss the challenges of future infrastructure projects.

Putting forward her thoughts, Doona Huey, Senior Vice President, Atkins Global said today’s challenges are not technological but pertain to adaptive management. BIM is not as much about building information modelling/management but more about better information modelling. We live in a world saturated with information and we have come to confuse information with understanding. Infrastructure future proofing is not just about building, it’s about collaboration of all stakeholders, she opined.

Considering that much of the future infrastructure will be built by the private sector, Cash Canfield, VP, American Structurepoint said, once the private sector is the in-charge of design, build, operations and maintenance, one will get to see lot more innovation and a lot more public private partnerships.

Presenting the importance of choosing the right technology for maximum business value, John Williams, Chairman &CEO, Impact infrastructure said, “It is about investment prioritisation and using the technology to influence the prioritisation. It is important to assess the need, funding, feasibility studies and alternative solutions, articulation of value, implementation – detailed environmental, planning, design, construction, operations etc before making a choice of the technology tools.

Presenting the challenges of future infrastructure projects, the panellists saw the seamless integration of project data across the design-contractor-operator and increasing the communication between the stakeholders and consequently increase the speed of the project. They opined that implementation of collaborative approach towards delivering the projects is also a challenge.

The panel came up with recommendations to reduce the lifecycle cost of infrastructure projects, which includes:

– Moving from project centric view to asset centric view.

– Reducing the operational costs, which is has a significant share of project lifecycle cost.

– Reducing the project delays, which is the No. 1 risk to project cost. Another delay is associated with the stakeholder consensus. A big way to reduce capital cost is to avoid delay and get all the stakeholders on board. Need to make the benefits transparent to the stakeholders.

– Need to invest in people and processes to be able to leverage best from the technology.

Source: Our Correspondent