The infrastructure industry faces headwinds in today’s volatile market.
The infrastructure industry faces headwinds in today’s volatile market. Globally, government budgets are constrained, and the rapid pace of technological innovation is affecting established systems. Governments struggle to adapt to new, decentralized economy models. Yet change can be harnessed to reap significant benefits for infrastructure planners. One of the key themes throughout this year’s edition of Emerging Trends in Infrastructure is the focus on data and analytics. Governments and infrastructure authorities are starting to recognize the true value of data in driving insights, operational performance and broader innovation. We expect to see adoption spread – across sectors, ecosystems and life cycles.
Asset owners are also beginning to put a much larger emphasis on safety, maintenance and resilience, across the asset lifecycle, and these factors are influencing investment decision-making. Meanwhile, we note an overwhelming shift towards the institutionalization of private investment in infrastructure within emerging markets. Over the coming years, we expect to see more emerging economies start to open as governments look for ways to better manage their debt sustainability while also improving competition and, hopefully, transparency. Capital is moving towards economies where greater margins can be achieved adjusting for risk. Significant injections of capital into Belt and Road Initiative projects by China’s state-owned enterprises, banks and investors will increasingly draw money and capabilities to the East.
Many of the opportunities available to infrastructure authorities today will influence the world order for decades to come. Technology is providing the scope for radically different solutions to infrastructure needs, and often much more cost effectively. In fact, in some cases, solutions to challenges in the industry may not involve any civil engineering or building at all. Those that can rapidly comprehend and adapt to emerging trends, and appreciate their broader implications, will be well placed to make the choices they need to drive their future success.
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