Siemens report: Digitalisation, infrastructure and climate change adaptation

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A new report released by Siemens Smart Infrastructure explores the global infrastructure development, management and resilience and digitalisation and climate change mitigation.

The report, A New Space Race, is based on interviews with 500 senior managers from a range of infrastructure disciplines in 10 countries.

Key findings of the report include:

  • Adaptability, sustainability and addressing climate change are top-of-mind for infrastructure leaders. To transform infrastructure in line with changing business models and regulations and to address business and environment challenges, the report calls for infrastructure developers, owners and managers to focus on adaptability, resiliency and decarbonisation.

Matthias Rebellius, CEO, Siemens Smart Infrastructure, said: “Infrastructure stakeholders are starting to act with real urgency. They recognise the need to accelerate decarbonisation, to build greater resilience and adaptability, while maintaining competitiveness.”

  • The majority of energy infrastructure stakeholders say net zero energy is impossible without digitalisation. Up to 67% of the interviewed managers within the energy sector believe that net zero energy is impossible without digitalisation. The majority of investments in digitalisation over the next five years will be directed towards AI-driven prediction and automation, according to the study.

The study also found an increase in the number of organisations setting net-zero goals with 94% of those confident they will achieve carbon-neutrality by 2030.

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The majority also consider adaptability as the most critical factor when designing new buildings or facilities to allow the re-purposing of spaces to suit changing occupants.

  • Infrastructure is lagging behind other industries in digitalisation progress

Up to 63% of the managers say the use of digital tools is lagging within the buildings and power segments. Only 31% of those questioned said they make full use of the data available to them, with almost half reporting they have not yet done so.

Rebellius, added: “Major change is challenging, but our highest goals are possible if we harness the power of data and new technologies, welcome greater cooperation and keep driving innovation.

“Buildings will be a lot more digital in the future. A facility manager will not only be able to automate, and remotely control more functionality, they will also benefit from a wider network of better sensors that flow into integrated visualisations and richer datasets. This will support a new level of fine-grained control and insights that are needed to make future buildings more resilient and flexible.” 

The report states that infrastructure managers are racing towards three spaces, including:

  • A New Physical Space Race – The changing needs and expectations of people in their buildings, factories, facilities, offices, homes, and surrounding infrastructure.
  • A New Digital Space Race – The evolution of the operational backbone of physical spaces, driven by advances in AI, automation, energy technologies, connectivity, and data-driven predictions.
  • A New Earth Space Race – The impact of physical and digital space on the planet as a whole, including a revolution in energy systems that will create a sustainable legacy for future generations.

The report also concludes that the pandemic sparked an urgent race to adapt, digitalisation is a race into new frontiers and climate change is a race against time.

The report is available for download.