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Building Information Modelling (BIM), big data and open data, virtual and augmented reality, 3D printing, Internet of Things, artificial intelligence: the list goes on. A digital tidal wave is literally flooding the construction sector! And this is no surprise, since digital technology is not just a matter of changing the way we design and deliver projects. It gives us the opportunity to build new high added value service propositions to both fulfil the growing demands of our clients and address the economic, social and environmental challenges that we face today.
Let there be no doubt: the entire value chain of the construction sector is being shaken up by digital technology. BIM is only the tip of the iceberg: the deployment of the digital model is compounded by the explosion of sensors that produce huge quantities of data which can be processed by the more and more sophisticated algorithms of AI. This enables the detailed and real-time monitoring of structures and therefore a better understanding of their behaviour and their use, and it opens up a field of opportunity to develop services aimed at the managers/operators of buildings and structures, but also at end users.
Data is becoming a major asset, and all players concur that new sources of value creation will come from the ability to process it and analyse it to offer new services.
The term of augmented building and infrastructure refers to structures which, through digital technology, become more intelligent, more efficient, more resilient and more radiant, i.e. with a positive impact on their environment. They enable the services provided to be managed better and improved and facilitate the emergence of new uses.
With the opportunities afforded by digital technology, the expectations of our customers are also changing, from the simple desire to build a structure to that of achieving user satisfaction. The user experience is a focal point from design phase. Our clients wish for a global solution which covers the life-cycle of their projects from design-and-build up until operation, and even as far as their dismantling. Digital continuity throughout the project life cycle is the key factor upon which the entire construction ecosystem is focusing today. It also supports economic considerations through the control of overall cost. In the future, two buildings will thus coexist: the physical structure (building, infrastructure) and its mirror image, its digital twin. Quite a challenge!
Digital technology is one of the keystones to designing sustainable cities, deploying the mobility of the future, and designing, building and operating structures in a context of resource scarcity.
Our firm belief is that digital technology and the climate are two indispensable and interconnected challenges.
We are facing a paradox. Technology enables us to gain better insight into the complexity of the challenges before us and propose responses. And in the same time, with the explosion of data and the proliferation of data centres (which are far from virtual), digital technology has a high environmental impact. This is why we are - and we will remain - attentive to controlling the carbon intensity of our data and our digital developments.
A successful digital transformation is a responsible digital transformation which places people at the forefront. Being smart is about contributing more connection, services and user-friendliness, but also more inclusion, better living conditions, resource efficiency and stability in the long term.