Initial cost focus can prevent projects gaining from technology adoption benefits
Too much focus is being placed on the initial costs when it comes to investing in new technology and the sector must start to look at the gains made over the asset lifetime, according to Bentley Systems CEO Greg Bentley.
Bentley’s comments came after 35% of delegates at a session focused on accelerating technology adoption during McKinsey’s Global Infrastructure Initiative event this week said that difficulty quantifying the financial benefits was the biggest challenge when it comes to embracing new technology in the construction sector.
Bentley said: “Financial incentives are of the essence for all of us.” But he added that there are systems to quantify the financial benefit and engineers must look beyond the end of construction to see them.
“Infrastructure owners will benefit most from creation of digital twins,” he added. “But they are not in their own right very likely to be able to maximise the creation, curation and analytics that can be applied across digital twins to maintain fitness for purpose and adaptation for life extension – that should be the work of engineers and the engineering value chain should have that value incentive to create new business with new offers for infrastructure owners that improve on their business model. Engineering firms should be investing in intellectual property and it should be in the nature of proprietary analytics, data benchmarking and so forth. I think everyone will benefit in this way of sharing opportunity and new business.”
Bentley urged the construction supply chain to move away from thinking only about their deliverables and consider how the data generated during construction could be used to driver better decisions during the operational phase of infrastructure. He said that digital twins created a system to do that but engineers must move away from thinking about the cost being only construction-related in order to realise the benefits.
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