Information Technology changed the way we lived. Before, we only have the reality on the ground, and the means of communication and connection with other people of different nations were limited.
Now, we have an alternative reality, the online world, and the information superhighway. We have witnessed the profound impact of information technology in terms of globalization in the past few decades.
The possibility of progress using information technology seems limitless – but how can it affect infrastructure management?
Infrastructure has long been proven as an essential requisite to usher in economic growth and success.
With the aging infrastructure of America, however, calls for a more responsive infrastructure asset management and overall infrastructure evaluation have intensified in the last few years.
While some might say that there is little improvement possible on infrastructure, the age where information technology can be incorporated into the physical structure of a public asset is made possible with the introduction of hybrid digital application.
What is the hybrid digital application?
It’s the integration of both physical and digital aspect in building infrastructure. An example of this is placing sensors in water systems to detect and transmit information about leaks.
The most common digital infrastructure is a traffic light which senses vehicles and change signals in real time.
What can be the benefits if infrastructure asset management plans will include hybrid digital softwares?
- More efficient infrastructure. If America indeed plans to rehabilitate its aging public assets, using hybrid digital technology will give way to more efficient public service.
Sensors in water systems will result to faster response time in fixing leaks, thereby minimizing water losses. Efficiency of traffic lights system will also result in spending less time being stuck in the traffic since these can monitor the absence or presence of vehicles.
- Easy collection and analysis of transmitted data. With this kind of infrastructure, the digital collection and analysis of data can be done with ease and offer more accurate results.
With this, price signals for the services can also be generated. If services are accurately priced, it will additionally closely align supply and demand – all these because of the efficient and easy data gathering and interpretation.
- Real-time insight on performance, status, and conditions of infrastructures. Sensors on bridges can help engineers detect structural changes over time. Real-time detection of these changes can prompt preventive maintenance to avoid defects that may critically affect the integrity of bridges.
- Time and cost savings. Digitalization of infrastructure can reduce staffing cost and simplify operations thereby saving time. The incorporation of digital technology will also lead to more informed decision making for infrastructure management planners and rehabilitators. With efficiency and flexibility in providing critical services, saving time and cost are inevitable.
With the promising benefits of digital applications, there’s no doubt that government and private companies are willing to use this technology.
In fact, more homes have smart meters now. Smart homes and appliances are becoming a common technology in the USA and other First World countries.
And with the promise of an infrastructure renaissance by the new administration, USA’s national infrastructure management program looks promising.